DEHRADUN: The Indian National Congress has listed its star campaigners for Salt state assembly seat by-elections in Uttarakhand.
The names include national president Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Wadra, and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh among others.
Suryakant Dhasmana, vice-president of the state unit of Congress said, "Our candidate in the bypolls will win as people now know that the BJP never intended to work for the benefit of the state. The BJP government has failed on every front."
The nominations for the by-elections were filed on Tuesday. The Congress has fielded Ganga Pancholi from the assembly who lost the 2017 elections by a close margin of 3000 votes to BJP's Surendra Jeena.
The seat was vacated in November 2020 after Jeena died due to covid-19 infection and further complications.
The BJP has fielded Mahesh Jeena, elder brother of the deceased MLA from the assembly seat.
The voting for the sets is on April 17 while the results will be declared on May 2.
The results of the bypolls are said to be an acid test for both the BJP and the Congress, which will reflect what will go down in 2022 state assembly polls.
Rahil Singh Shekhawat, a Dehradun-based political analyst said, "The list of the Congress seems impressive when it comes to star campaigners. Both the parties are taking the bypolls seriously as the results will determine the further course of action, politically."
This is the third instance that the BJP has banked on relatives, family members of the deceased members of the assembly.
Earlier, the party fielded Chandra Pant after Pithoragarh seat was vacated upon the demise of senior cabinet minister Prakash Pant, and Muuni Devi Sah after the death of Tharali MLA Magan Lal Sah in hear 2018.
Experts called the BJP move tried and tested formula banking on sympathy wave.
Meanwhile, sources from the government and the BJP said that upcoming state assembly elections scheduled in March 2022 in Uttarakhand, may be preponed to August 2021.
The reasons behind such anticipation is Bhartiya Janta Party's reluctance to go into by-elections of the Pauri Lok Sabha seat from where Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat is an MP.
The party is yet to decide on a state assembly seat for the CM to get into the assembly.
Rawat, who is MP from Pauri Lok Sabha seat, needs to become a member of the assembly within six months of his swearing in.
Many in the party, as well as the government, are not confident of Rawat winning by-elections from any assembly seat. However, many MLAs have shown willingness to leave their seats for the CM.