Putting aside their rivalry,Chief Minister B C Khanduri and Bhagat Singh Koshiyari joined hands last night to counter former CM Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank in selecting the partys candidates for the Uttarakhand Assembly polls.
As the BJP central election committee announced nominees for 48 of the 70 seats last night,many of Nishanks loyalists found themselves out of the list.
Interestingly,both Khanduri and Nishank have shifted from the hills to contest from seats in the plains following delimitation of constituencies. Khanduri has opted for Kotdwar,located in the foothills of Garhwal,which is close to the UP border. He represented the Dhumakot seat earlier. Nishank,who was elected from Thalisain in 2007,has moved to Doiwala near Dehradun.
Sitting MLA Anil Nautiyal,a Nishank loyalist,has been denied re-nomination from Karnprayag. He has been replaced by lawyer Harish Pujari,a staunch opponent of Nishank.
Nishanks nominee Pankaj Sehgal,a contractor,has been denied a ticket for the BHEL Ranipur constituency. Sources said Nishanks efforts to get a ticket for Manveer Singh Chauhan,his former aide,for the Gangotri seat are likely to fail too.
The nomination of sitting Kedarnath MLA Asha Nautiyal,another confidante of Nishank,had been withheld. However,she may make it as there arent enough woman candidates available.
Nishanks only consolation was that he was allotted the constituency of his choice. But sources said he would find it difficult to win from Doiwala without the support of Agriculture Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat,a three-term MLA from the area and a Koshiyari loyalist. The contest may become more difficult for him if the Congress nominates Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly Harak Singh Rawat to fight against Nishank. Once a protege of Govindacharya,Rawat switched to BSP and then to Congress.
Agriculture Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat has been fielded from Raipur,a new constituency. Hema Joshi will contest from Koshiyaris constituency,Champawat. Among those who have been re-nominated are Speaker Harbansh Kapoor from Dehradun Cantt.