The BJP announced party’s former Uttarakhand president Tirath Singh Rawat as its candidate for the Pauri Garhwal Lok Sabha seat, on Thursday, bringing to a halt the speculation over the seat where the contest between the BJP and the Congress in the upcoming polls is expected to turn out to be the most interesting in comparison to the remaining four seats in the state.
Tirath was in the race for BJP candidature from the Pauri seat, which encompasses Kedarnath, the reconstruction of which has been one of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pet projects. National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval’s son Shaurya Doval, who was among the candidates vying for candidature from the seat, has been running the ‘Bemisaal Garhwal Abhiyan’ or unparalleled Garhwal campaign for over a year now to create a political base in the Garhwal region, especially in Pauri. Colonel (retd) Ajay Kothiyal who is credited with the reconstruction of Kedarnath was also among the contenders for BJP candidature from the seat. Click here for more election stories
The Congress is yet to announce its candidates for the five Lok Sabha seats in Uttarakhand. However, with Shaurya out of the race, Tirath will be battling it out against Manish Khanduri, who is the son of former Uttarakhand chief minister and sitting BJP MP from Pauri Major General (retd.) B C Khanduri. Manish, who had joined the Congress last week, is going to be announced as the Congress candidate from the Pauri seat, sources in the Congress said.
BC Khanduri has a strong mass base in Pauri, and it remains to be seen whether voters choose his son or the BJP in the upcoming polls.
The party which had won all five Uttarakhand Lok Sabha seats in 2014, also announced candidates for the remaining four Lok Sabha seats on Thursday. The candidates include three sitting MPs – Union Minister of State for Textiles, Ajay Tamta from Almora seat; Mala Rajya Laxmi Shah from Tehri Garhwal seat; former Uttarakhand Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank from Haridwar seat.
Uttarakhand BJP president Ajay Bhatt has been announced as the candidate from the Nainital-Udham Singh Nagar seat. Bhatt, who had also contested the 2017 Uttarakhand Assembly polls from the Ranikhet seat which falls under the Nainital-Udham Singh Nagar Lok Sabha constituency, had lost to Congress MLA Karan Mahara by 4,953 votes.