Updated: March 11, 2017 6:41:44 pm
BJP has scripted a success story in Uttarakhand as their battle for power with the incumbent Congress has almost reached its conclusion on Saturday. The BJP was able to clinch an early lead from the Congress at around 9 am, and by 11 am the trends all pointed to an eventual BJP win in the 70-member Uttarakhand Assembly. The latest results give 57 seats to the BJP, 11 to the Congress and 2 to Other parties. Chief Minister Harish Rawat suffered a big blow as he lost both his seats of Hardwar Rural and Kichha. In Hardwar, Rawat lost to BJP’s Yatishwaranand by over 12,000 votes, while in Kichha he lost to BJP’s Rajesh Shukla by 2154 votes.
After the debacle, Rawat submitted his resignation to Governor K K Paul, while attributing the party’s “poor” show in the state polls to “flaws in his own leadership”. In a press conference, Rawat said, “I own up my failure to rise up to the expectations of my party workers who had worked very hard despite lack of resources,” he said.
Rawat’s loss comes as a massive setback for the Congress even as rival BJP on Saturday attributed their loss to a complete rejection of his leadership. BJP leader Munna Singh Chauhan told in an interview to PTI that this is a complete rejection of his leadership. He connected Rawat’s defeat to corruption and strong anti-incumbency, saying the massive surge of support for the BJP reflected in the trends and results available so far were due to a clear “Modi wave which has only gathered steam over the two-and-half years of his extra- ordinary performance at the Centre”. He added that people were totally disillusioned with Rawat government under whom corruption flourished like never before as they desperately looked for a change in leadership.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh lauded BJP’s performance in the state. “This is a big victory. BJP has reached new heights in Uttarakhand, UP and changed political picture of the country,” said Singh. CM Rawat’s term was riddled with several controversies, which include allegations of horse trading among others. In the meantime, the BJP, just like in UP, hasn’t yet announced its chief ministerial candidate. Earlier today, BJP’s state in-charge Shyam Jaju had told the Indian Express exclusively that ‘only a BJP member will be a CM, that’s all’, not offering any further clarity.
Uttarakhand has had a roller-coaster ride in the last five years. It witnessed one of worst natural disasters in June 2013 after a massive cloudburst triggered flash floods that claimed more than 5,000 lives. Following this incident, former Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna was replaced by Harish Rawat in 2014. But even a change of guard could not bring stability. Only last year, rebel Congress legislator Vijay Bahuguna, backed by the BJP, had engineered a coup to topple Rawat had led to widespread chaos. Subsequently, imposition of President’s rule for a short while, and then a sting video of the CM reportedly offering money to lure legislators to rescue his government added to the confusion.
Whatever the case may be, one thing is amply clear that the BJP is all set to come to power in the state. But it remains to be seen by what margin does it win the elections.
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