Uttarakhand: Campaigning ends for Pithoragarh by-poll

By: |
November 23, 2019 7:17 PM

The Congress too is trying to put its best foot forward to snatch the seat from the BJP, while seeking to capitalising on the popularity of former party MLA Mayukh Mahar who has lent his full support to party candidate Anju Lunthi and has ben extensively campaigning for her.

Uttarakhand, Uttarakhand Campaigning end, Pithoragarh by-poll, BJP, Mahar is perceived to be having a good hold over the constituency despite having lost it to BJP’s Pant by a small margin in the 2017 assembly elections. He had represented the constituency 2012.

Campaigning for the byelection to Pithoragarh assembly seat came to an end on Saturday with both the BJP and Congress vying with each other to woo voters in the run-up to the bypoll. While the BJP sought a mandate describing itself as a party that believes in serving people quietly rather than “bating empty drums”, Congress raked up the issues of “growing unemployment, rising prices and stalled development schemes” initiated during its government’s tenure.

Addressing an election meeting in favour of BJP nominee Chandra Pant at the Ramlila ground in Pithoragarh, Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat said his government released Rs 350 crore for the development of the constituency in the last two years — the highest by any government for the district in such a short span of time.

“Incomplete development works in the district will be completed soon so that it could get proper infrastructure for the future investment to create employment in the constituency,” he said.

Highlighting various steps taken by his government to boost the road and air connectivity in the district, Rawat said the Tanakpur-Pithoragarh stretch, which is the part of an ambitious all-weather road project, is nearing completion. He said his government is in talks with several aviation companies to streamline air services from Pithoragarh to Hindon and Dehradun.

“We believe in serving people silently. We don’t believe in beating empty drums. We believe in getting results rather than faking works,” Rawat told the gathering to a loud cheering.

Citing the death of late Prakash Pant whose wife Chandra is contesting from the seat, Rawat said in his untimely demise, the state has lost a tall leader whose expertise in financial matters was well known. Others who addressed the public meeting included Almora MP Ajay Tamta, late Prakash Pant’s wife and BJP candidate Chandra Pant, Nainital MP and Pradesh BJP president Ajay Bhatt, Someshwar MLA and minister Rekha Arya and Gangolihat MLA Meena Gangola.

The bypoll for the Pithoragarh seat is to be held on Monday with BJP’s Chandra Pant taking on Congress’ Anju Lunthi in a straight contest to retain the seat, which was represented in the current assembly by her late husband and Cabinet minister Prakash Pant.

While eyeing sympathy votes over Pant’s death by fielding his wife from the seat, the BJP has spared no effort to make the most of the week-long campaign to retain the seat.

Chandra, who resigned as a teacher to take the plunge into politics after initial reluctance, has campaigned extensively in the constituency, seeking votes in the name of her late husband to accomplish his unfinished work.

The Congress too is trying to put its best foot forward to snatch the seat from the BJP, while seeking to capitalising on the popularity of former party MLA Mayukh Mahar who has lent his full support to party candidate Anju Lunthi and has ben extensively campaigning for her.

Mahar is perceived to be having a good hold over the constituency despite having lost it to BJP’s Pant by a small margin in the 2017 assembly elections. He had represented the constituency 2012.

Anju Lunthi was fielded only after Mahar expressed his unwillingness to contest and lent her support to her. Former Chief Minister and AICC general secretary Harish Rawat, who had initially supported Mahar, too has lend full backing to Lunthi, having camped in the constituency for nearly a week since November 17 to campaign for her.

“The BJP government is anti-development and strengthening it will be counter-productive for the people of Pithoragarh,” Harish Rawat said at an election meeting in favour of Lunthi in Pithoragarh on Friday. “All developmental and welfare schemes started during my tenure were scuttled by the present government,” Rawat alleged.

Former Pithoragarh MLA Mahar, who also spoke on the occasion, said he fails to understand why he was rejected by the people in 2017 despite fighting with his own government to bring development to the constituency.

“I fought with my own government to have a drinking water scheme, a nursing college, a medical college and a base hospital sanctioned for the constituency but the present government did not move even a step further to start these schemes,” he said.

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