DAINIK NATION BUREAU
Uttarkashi district, which have mere three Assembly seats, is nonetheless an important one electorally because of the fact that two of three seats up for grabs here are Gangotri and Yamunotri, two of the four fabled shrines of the state. The other seat is Purola. Gangotri stands in a class by itself because of the tag it carries of being jinxed. As per the popular superstition enduring for years, the result of the seat decides the fate of the two principal parties, vying for power-Congress and BJP. The party that wins the seat is set to form the government, goes the legend.
Gangotri constituency spreads over Bhatwadi, Dunda and Uttarkashi municipalities. While Bhatwadi block is considered as a BJP citadel the fact that Nautiyal hails from it seems to have made the saffron party’s position a bit vulnerable. Moreover, Nautiyal getting support from as many as five former district BJP presidents, including Buddhi Singh Panwar who preceded the present one, is deepening wrinkles over the saffron brows. .
Things are interesting in Yamunotri seat too. It spreads across Chinyalisaur, Nauganv and parts of Dunda blocks. With a senior BJP leader Sushila Baluni’s nephew Sanjay Dobhal contesting as the Congress candidate the saffron party seems to be on a sticky wicket. Dobhal is getting full support from the incumbent MLA Preetam Singh Panwar who has shifted to Dhanaulty constituency in Tehri district. This aside, the Congress candidate Dobhal belonging to Yamuna Valley has made things all the more tricky for the BJP candidate. The Congress government categorizing Chinyalisaur as OBC, the OBC people are still grateful to Preetam Singh Panwar who was supposed to be instrumental behind the announcement. However, Panwar being locked in a fierce fight at Dhanaulty against the formidable Congress candidate Manmohan Mall who the ruling party is lending support in deviation from the stance of the chief minister Harish Rawat, he is hardly finding time to campaign for Dobhal.
While BJP has fielded Congress dissident Gopal Singh Rawat for the high-voltage Gangotri seat Congress has fielded sitting MLA Vijaypal Singh Sajwan. The BJP rebel Surat Ram Nautiyal, who lost the election to the Congress dissident Gopal Rawat in the previous face-off, pitching in the contest as an Independent has added further interest to the contest.
In Purola, Congress has fielded BJP rebel and former MLA Rajkumar against the BJP candidate Malchand, who is also the sitting MLA. The constituency comprises Mori, Purola and parts of Navganv blocks. Devta, a group of priests having influence in different parts of the constituency, fielding a candidate has made the contest a triangular one. While the Devta- supported candidate belongs to Mori block Malchand and Rajkumar are from Purola and Nauganv blocks respectively. Former Congress MLA Rajesh Juwantha having joined BJP recently, the BJP candidate Malchand seems to have a slight edge.
Ironically, both the BJP and Congress candidates are turncoats.Malchand contested the 2012 election as a Congress candidate and won. As Congress denied him ticket and awarded it instead to a BJP rebel Rajkumar he switched to BJP and got the ticket too. Observers say that things would hinge much on the volume of support Juwantha can bring for BJP from Congress.