DAINIK NATION BUREAU
Jyoti Kanwasi, wife of the late Bahujan Samaj Party’s Karnprayag candidate Kuldeep Singh Kanwasi who was killed in a road accident when his car fell into a gorge while he was returning from political campaign for the Vidhan Sabha election-2017, has been declared the party candidate by BSP for upcoming election in the constituency. As is known, following the demise of the BSP candidate, the Chamoli district election officer (DEO) Vinod Kumar Suman had declared postponement of the polling and later the election commission issued a notification for Karnparyag assembly election on March 9– two days ahead of counting of votes. It should be mentioned that the Karnprayag constituency has been a centre of attraction because during the term of the Congress-led state government — 2012-17– a giant Vidhan Sabha building and MLAs hostel have come into existence here with the last assembly session in 2016 being conducted in the building and MLAs were provided accommodation in the newly built hostel as well. Both the Bharatiya Janata Party and Congress tried their best to present themselves as true well wishers of Karnprayag and Gairsain as well.
With the decision, the EC has provided a level playing field to the political parties and independents. It should be noted here that some political analysts have predicted that this time the chances of a hung assembly are strong so if the authorities had conducted election after counting of votes then the seat would have turned into a hot seat with both the national political parties — BJP and Congress would have used their money and muscle to win the seat.
This is only one constituency which is being represented by a person from the Brahmin community since inception of Uttarakhand. The Congress candidate Anusuya Prasad Maikhuri had represented the constituency between 2002-07; BJP candidate Anil Nautiyal represented the constituency between 2007-12 and during assembly election-2012 Maikhuri won the seat again and became the deputy speaker of the third elected Assembly.
By fielding Jyoti, the BSP has created a ripple in political circles and leaders of both national parties — Maikhuri as the Congress candidate and Surendra Singh Negi as the BJP candidate are in the fray. They have been saying that Jyoti, who had become a widow during the election campaign period, would elicit sympathy from public especially the women voters and if it persists the the stalwarts may struggle to retain their presence.
It would be pertinent to mention here that some observers point out that level playing field between the candidates is missing because for the other candidates who are contesting from this constituency, the campaign expenditure limit would be held in continuation. It means if candidate has spent Rs 10 lakh during campaign so far, then their further expenditure would be counted from Rs 10 lakh. While on the other hand, Jyoti would be able to spend afresh to the full limit of Rs 28 lakh. On condition of anonymity a candidate said that “the BSP candidate would get sympathy and full expenditure limit while we have spent half of our cash limit and still money is being spent on keeping our supporters and workers together”.