It will not be a cakewalk for three-time Congress MLA and Uttarakhand Sports and Forest Minister Dinesh Agarwal to win Dharampur constituency in Dehradun this poll season with BJP fielding two-time mayor Vinod Chamoli from the seat.
The BJP ticket to Chamoli has not gone down well with the supporters of his own party leader Umesh Aggarwal, who was viewed as a strong contender for Dharampur constituency, a Congress bastion.
Chamoli, however, is seen campaigning hard to garner votes and if he succeeds in coaxing Umesh’s supporters, who had allegedly vandalised the party state office after ticket distribution, it would pose a big challenge to Congress leader Dinesh Agarwal.
Agarwal on his part has trashed the candidature of Chamoli, saying he does not have a “single achievement” to his credit. Chamoli is the mayor of Dehradun Municipal Corporation since 2008.
“There is no challenge from Chamoli. I wonder on what basis he got the ticket to fight against me. I challenge him to give his one achievement in Dehradun as a two-time mayor.
“I want to put across to him only one question. What is his achievement? What has he given to Dehradun as a mayor and as Municipality chairman? I think he has given the tag of the dirtiest city in India to Dehradun. He has no policy, no programme and no vision,” he said.
Hitting back at Dinesh, Chamoli said, “Let him say that it is easy for him to win the election. Let the election gets over, everything will be out. There is a huge anti-incumbency in the state as well as in Dharampur constituency.
“As a mayor, I have a long list of achievements, including establishment of bus shelters, flyovers, widening of roads and increasing sewerage connection to 80 per cent of the area from just 20 per cent,” he said.
He said the election outcome would be in favour of BJP as “aam admi stands with the Modi government” and the people want “change” as Congress government in the state is “engulfed in corruption”.
Chamoli said Dinesh has been a minister in the state government and three-time MLA but the same old problems persist in the constituency.
Countering his allegations, Dinesh said people in his constituency are “happy” with his works which includes setting up two sewerage treatment plants, medical college, flyovers, ownership rights to slum-dwellers, construction of roads, improving water and electricity supply.”
In the 2012 Assembly elections, Agarwal defeated BJP’s Prakash Suman Dhyani by over 9,420 votes in Dharmapur constituency which came into existence after delimitation and reorganisation of parliamentary constituencies and Assembly segments in 2008.
Earlier, he had fought the 2007 and 2002 Assembly elections from Laxman Chowk which was dissolved in the delimitation exercise.
Eunuch Rajni Rawat, another prominent face, has also jumped into the electoral fray as Independent candidate for Dharampur and Raipur seats.
“I am sure, I will win from both the seats…Uttarakhand people are thinking that I am a fakir (hermit) and one who blesses the people. People are saying that it is their good luck that such a fakir will give them blessing,” she said, adding providing job opportunities to the youth would be her main agenda.
About two dozen candidates are in the fray in the constituency which has over 2 lakh voters — a mix of Muslims, people from hilly areas, Sikhs and a sizeable population of people from eastern Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
Sunil Kumar, a resident of the constituency, appreciated the works done by Dinesh. “Because of the minister’s efforts, there is better road connectivity and improvement in sewerage in the area. The Minister is also easily available to the people and gives patient hearing to the grievances of the residents,” he said.
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However, Kumar’s friend Arvind said, “There is much to be done for the improvement of electricity supply. There is also monkey menace in some areas near the forest for which something must be done. There are still many developmental works need to be done in the constituency.”
Sensing the mood of the electorate, Dinesh said, “I have only one agenda for the constituency–development.”