Women, first-time voters hold the key in five-seat Uttarakhand Lok Sabha polls

A total of 55 candidates are in the fray for five seats in the state. There are 11 candidates in Tehri, 13 in Pauri Garhwal, seven in Almora, 10 in Nainital and 14 in Haridwar.
BJP supporters ride on an earthmover during Uttarakhand CM Pushkar Singh Dhami’s roadshow
BJP supporters ride on an earthmover during Uttarakhand CM Pushkar Singh Dhami’s roadshowPTI

SRINAGAR/DEHRADUN: Sakshi Dhasmana, 19, is excited about voting for the first time in the April 19 Lok Sabha elections. The first-year BA student of Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna Garhwal University and her mother and grandmother wait anxiously for BJP candidate Anil Baluni to arrive at her village.

Baluni is fighting his maiden election from Garhwal. Besides women voters, the state has a substantial section of floating voters who can play a pivotal role in determining the outcomes in the five parliamentary constituencies.

When Baluni arrives, she and many others, mostly women, wave the BJP flag with full-throated BJP slogans. Sakshi is the first-time voter. “I am going to follow my mother and grandmother,” indicating where her voting preference lies.

Besides first-time voters like Sakshi, there are other women who hold the key to the Uttarakhand elections. Of the total 83.37 lakh voters, 40.20 lakh are women. Their number has steadily increased over the years. In 2019, there were 77.65 lakh voters — 40.53 lakh male and 37.11 lakh women voters.

Though women’s political representation is still low — nine in the state assembly, the highest female representation so far in the 70-member legislature since the state was carved out in the year 2000 — they are the deciding factor in these elections. That’s the reason BJP and Congress are doing everything to garner their support.

BJP supporters ride on an earthmover during Uttarakhand CM Pushkar Singh Dhami’s roadshow
BJP is facing pro-incumbency, says Anil Baluni

Baluni in his campaign addresses women voters directly. He is facing Congress’ Ganesh Godiyal. “Congress has always ignored the women’s welfare. Modji has constantly worked for mothers and daughters,” Baluni tells women voters.

The BJP appeal to young voters is also aimed at floating voters — the ones who are undecided about their voting preference. In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP secured all five seats with significant margins, benefiting from the Modi wave. The party’s vote share rose to 60.7%, up by five percentage points from 2014.

A total of 55 candidates are in the fray for five seats in the state. There are 11 candidates in Tehri, 13 in Pauri Garhwal, seven in Almora, 10 in Nainital and 14 in Haridwar, which will go to polls on Friday.

Manveer Singh Chauhan, the party’s media in-charge, dismisses the concept of floating voters. “The Modi wave has settled the voter preferences. Currently, the electorate is decisively inclined towards a particular choice, and we will win all five seats again,” said Chauhan.

Related Stories

No stories found.

X
The New Indian Express
www.newindianexpress.com