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Uttarakahand polls: BJP fields ex-CM Khanduri’s daughter Ritu Bhushan Khanduri from Kotdwar

Ritu Bhushan Khanduri has been fielded from Kotdwar constituency and not from Yamkeshwar, which she won in the previous election. She has been pitted against Congress candidate Surendra Singh Negi.

Written by Avaneesh Mishra | Dehradun |
Updated: January 27, 2022 12:32:03 am
Ritu Bhushan Khanduri (Twitter)

Ending days of speculation on whether she will get a party ticket to contest the upcoming Uttarakhand Assembly elections, the BJP on Wednesday announced the name of Ritu Bhushan Khanduri, daughter of former chief minister B C Khanduri, as one of the nine candidates in its second list.

However, she has been fielded from Kotdwar constituency and not from Yamkeshwar, which she won in the previous election. She has been pitted against Congress candidate Surendra Singh Negi.

According to sources in the BJP, Ritu wanted to continue from Yamkeshwar but the party decided to place its bets on Renu Bisht to contest against Congress’s Shailendra Singh Rawat for the seat. Sources said the decision was based on a pre-poll internal survey, which was not favourable.

In 2017, riding the Narendra Modi wave, Ritu had defeated Renu, who was then an Independent candidate, by a margin of 8,982 votes. Congress candidate Shailendra Rawat was a close third.

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After the first list of 59 candidates were announced, amid speculation that she may not get a ticket this time, Ritu had told reporters that there must have been a reason why she was not picked for Yamkeshwar. “I belong to a family in which we do not ask many questions. There must have been some good enough reason for not giving me the ticket,” she had said.

In the previous election, former state Cabinet minister Harak Singh Rawat, who recently joined the Congress along with his daughter-in-law Anukriti Gusain after the BJP expelled him, had won from Kotdwar. While the Congress is yet to give ticket to Harak, Gusain has been named for Lansdowne constituency.

In its second list, the BJP also announced the name of Shaila Rani Rawat for Kedarnath. In 2017, she was defeated by Congress candidate Manoj Rawat.

With Wednesday’s announcement, the BJP has so far named 68 candidates, including seven women, for elections to the 70-member Assembly. The Congress has so far announced 64 candidates, including six women.

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