DAINIK NATION BUREAU
On the penultimate day of the campaigning for the prestigious Karnprayag Assembly seat- the election of which was rescheduled on March 9 following the death of a Bahujan Samaj Party candidate-reached a fever pitch on Monday with the state top guns of all the parties in the contest trudging through the nook and corner of the constituency. The election to the lone seat which is yet to elect its representative with the rest of the state having completed the process on February 15 is important in view of the speculations of both the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party running neck and neck. Besides, the proposed summer capital of the state Gairsain that saw several sessions of the outgoing Assembly falls within the constituency.
Aside from the principal rivals, smaller parties like BSP and Uttarakhand Kranti Dal are in the thick of the high-pitched campaigning, focusing mainly on the local issues in bid to strike the right chord with the electorate grappling with grievances at the local levels.
The star campaigner of the Congress, chief minister Harish Rawat has been camping there for days and seeking to connect the people on the emotive issue of Gairsain being the future capital or the summer capital of the state. Equidistant from both Garhwal and Kumaon divisions, the hitherto laid-back place in Chamoli district has been witnessing Assembly sessions since 2014. Rawat is claiming to be instrumental in bringing the town to the consummation of being declared the capital, step by step. The Congress candidate, Dr Anusuya Prasad Maikhuri, the deputy speaker of the outgoing Assembly, while seeking re-election, is banking on the developmental turnaround the previously staid place has seen over the past five years since the maiden session of the Assembly was held at the behest of the Congress government.
BJP on its part has pressed all its former chief ministers and Satpal Maharaj, touted as the CM probable, aside from the party’s state points-man Shyam Jaju to give the required cutting edge to the campaigning. The saffron brigade while chiding the ruling party for remaining ambiguous on the matter of Gairsain being declared as the capital is dishing out the promise of acting swiftly soon after assuming the reins of the state to bring it to its logical conclusion.
UKD is not lagging behind while boasting of its role in carving the mountain state out of erstwhile Uttar Pradesh is using the issue of the capital to the hilt. The party president Pushpesh Tripathi is busy convincing the people that theirs was the only outfit remaining sincere on the issue all through while alleging that the other parties were taking the people for a ride.
Notably, the emotive issue having the potential to ignite the collective emotions of the highlanders was temporarily shoved under the carpet after the BJP-government appointed Dikshit Commission gave a report almost nullifying the issue of the capital shift. However, the matter resurrected after the Congress-helmed government initiated a cabinet meeting in 2012 to be followed by the foundation laying of the Assembly building in 2013.
Despite the party securing a paltry percentage of votes during the last election, BSP can hardly be written out of the electoral reckoning with the party seeking to cash in on the sympathy factor having fielded the widow of the candidate Kuldeep Kanwasi who was killed in a road mishap barely two days before the election.