Uttarakhand Assembly Elections 2017: It is PM Modi Vs Congress as state is all set to vote; key highlights

Polling for the 69 Assembly seats in Uttarakhand will take place on Wednesday. There are around 74.20 lakh voters will decide the fate of 628 candidates as 69 out of 70 assembly constituencies spread over 13 districts go to polls.

uttar pradesh election
The voting today will be crucial for Samajwadi Party and its new president and UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav. (Reuters)

Polling for the 69 Assembly seats in Uttarakhand will take place on Wednesday. There are around 74.20 lakh voters will decide the fate of 628 candidates as 69 out of 70 assembly constituencies spread over 13 districts go to polls. Stakes are high for both the ruling Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the crucial assembly polls. While the BJP is accusing the Congress Chief Minister Harish Rawat of turning ‘Devbhoomi’ (land of gods) into ‘loot bhoomi’ (land of looters), the Congress is claiming that BJP makes tall promises and that people of Uttarakhand will reject the appeals by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Both Modi and Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi have run an extensive campaign in the hill state trying to woo the 75 lakh plus voters in favour of their candidates.

A total of 628 candidates from different parties and independent backgrounds are trying their luck at the hustings this time round. A total of 10,685 polling booths have been made for the 75,13,547 voters.

Voting in the Karnaprayag seat has been postponed to March 9 as the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) candidate Kuldeep Kanvasi died in an accident during canvassing. On request of the party leadership, the poll panel decided to hold the elections on March 9. The BSP has been given time till February 20 to file a fresh nomination, scrutiny would be done of February 21 and date of withdrawal is February 21.

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Congress and BJP are locked in a straight contest in most of the seats but the presence of about a dozen rebel candidates in the fray as independents and the saffron party fielding former Congressmen may upset the calculations.

Rahul held two public meetings in Rishikesh and Someshwar besides a 75-km roadshow in Haridwar district which has the maximum number of 11 constituencies in Uttarakhand. Chief Minister Harish Rawat has gone all out to woo voters by holding several public meetings and roadshows on daily basis in perhaps the most crucial election of his
career.

A total of 30,000 security personnel including 105 companies of central armed police force, 25 companies of Provincial Armed Constabulary, Uttarakhand police and the homeguards have been deployed. For the first time voter verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) machines will be used in these elections in Uttarakhand.

On Tuesday, former cabinet minister Harak Singh Rawat, who joined the BJP last year, was attacked during a scuffle between Congress and BJP activists in Uttarakhand. Police on Monday night had a tough time reigning in the supporters from both sides at Kotdwar, an official said.

Representatives from five countries have arrived in India to witness the assembly elections in Uttarakhand, the Election Commission said on Tuesday. A group of 13 persons including heads and representatives of election management bodies (EMBs) from Russia, Egypt, Bangladesh, Namibia and Kyrgystan will watch the polling on Wednesday. “The delegates have already been briefed by the EC on different facets of election management in India and main features of poll preparedness in the ongoing assembly elections,” an official said.

“The international delegates were given demonstration of the use of technology in these elections, particularly the use of electronic voting machine (EVM) and the use of the Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT), as well as extensive briefings by senior officials of the EC on the entire process of election management,” he added. The Election Visitors Programme (EVP) for the international delegates has been organised by the ECI in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) India.

(With PTI/IANS inputs)

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