DEHRADUN: The BJP’s nationalism pitch dominates the electoral discourse in Uttarakhand whereas the Congress plank of minimum income guarantee has seemingly antagonised the middle-class electorate in the hill state.
“People are discussing how Abhinandan Varthaman, captured by Pakistan, returned within 48 hours without India making any concessions. We never saw such a thing happen in our memory,” said Ankit Tewary, a local resident.
The sentiments were echoed by C K Ghale, who retired as Naib Subedar in Signal Corps of Army in 2004. “I am a fauji and I’m proud that India paid back Pakistan for its misdeeds. My friends and colleagues are no more discussing local issues. This is an election to vote in power a strong PM. Modi has won the hills,” stated Ghale.
“My father, who has always been a Congress activist, is out of the tax net and is now a convert to the BJP,” said Avneesh Thakur, a micro-finance professional.
Uttarakhand, which is home to a large number of Army and paramilitary personnel and veterans, has its five constituencies — Haridwar, Tehri Garhwal, Pauri, Almora and Nainital — going to polls on Thursday.
Manish Thapa is miffed with the Congress promise of income guarantee “at the expense of taxpayers”. However, Deepak Mishra of Haridwar, who teaches at a coaching institute, lamented lack of jobs.