The Pithoragarh Assembly segment in Uttarakhand is abuzz with political activities ahead of the bypoll necessitated by the death of three-time MLA and former minister Prakash Pant. While BJP candidate Chandra Pant is hoping to gain from the sympathy factor and promising voters that she will fulfill her husband’s dreams, her main rival and Congress candidate Anju Lunthi is showcasing work as the head of the local block development council over the past two years. The constituency goes to polls on November 25 and the counting is on November 28.
Prakash Pant was elected MLA from Pithoragarh in 2017, 2007 and 2002. In 2012, he lost against the Congress’s Mayukh Mahar. This time too, the Congress had requested Mahar to contest, but he denied. Eventually, the party fielded Anju Lunthi (29), wife of state Congress Committee member and contractor Dev Singh.
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Both Anju and Chandra are alumni of Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna Garhwal University and belong to neighbouring villages. Chandra worked as a government school teacher but took voluntary retirement to contest the polls.
“I have to fulfill my husband’s dreams who spent his life in public service. This is the promise I am making to voters. Pant ji was a popular leader and there is goodwill for him. I will complete development work left unfinished after his death,” Chandra told The Indian Express.
Anju accused the BJP government of neglecting Pithoragarh. “My husband is PCC member, but the party has given me ticket because of my ability. I have brought development here as a block head and presently I am a zila panchayat member. Projects for hospitals, educational institutions and drinking water supply started in Pithoragarh under the previous Congress government have been put on the backburner by the BJP government,” she said.