uttarakhand

Lobbying in Uttarakhand BJP for Pauri, Tehri seats

Hectic lobbying has started in the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in Uttarakhand for the seats where the party is likely to field new candidates, sources said.

Elections to the five Lok Sabha constituencies in Uttarakhand will be held in a single phase on April 11.

The two seats where speculation is on about the party changing its candidates are Pauri and Tehri, represented by former chief minister Bhuwan Chandra Khanduri and Mala Rajya Laxmi Shah respectively.

The possibility of the BJP, which has all the five seats in its kitty at present, changing its candidate in Pauri emerged after Khanduri sent feelers to the central leadership about his unwillingness to enter the fray due to health reasons.

Khanduri’s insistence on not contesting may leave the BJP with no choice but to go for a replacement, party sources said on the condition of anonymity.

Two-three names are doing the rounds as top contenders for the seat, including National Security Adviser Ajit Doval’s son Shaurya Doval, state cabinet minister Satpal Maharaj or his wife Amrita Rawat and former director of the Nehru Institute of Mountaineering Ajay Kothiyal, who joined the party a couple of months ago.

Kothiyal is credited with doing a lot for the relief and rescue of affected people in the hill districts of Garhwal region after the natural calamity of 2013.

Though they are all said to be angling for Pauri seat, party insiders feel the ticket must go to someone who can match the political stature of Khanduri.

If stature is a factor in the choice of a candidate for Pauri, Satpal Maharaj fits the bill, party sources said.

Another seat where speculation is rife about a change of candidate is Tehri.

When asked about the reasons, party sources said sitting MP Mala Rajya Lakshmi Shah had done nothing in the past five years for her constituency and has the reputation of a non-performer.

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