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Uttarakhand » Politics

Posted at: Jan 11, 2017, 12:35 AM; last updated: Jan 11, 2017, 12:35 AM (IST)

BJP faces ticket dilemma; Cong eyes probable rebels

SMA KAZMI

Tribune News Service

Dehradun, January 10

The Congress as well as the BJP are awaiting the list of candidates of each other and hoping to rope in winnable rebel candidates. Both parties, involved in a fierce electoral battle, are trying every trick of the trade to get past one another in the state Assembly polls scheduled to be held on February 15.

Both parties are not expected to release their list of candidates before mid January. The BJP, which is making a serious bid to capture power from the Congress, finds itself in a bind on the issue of giving ticket to 10 rebel Congress legislators who defected to the BJP in March 2016 in an unsuccessful bid to dethrone the Congress-run state government, led by Chief Minister Harish Rawat.

Although, on the surface there is not much talk of rebellion in the ‘disciplined’ ranks of the BJP with party national president Amit Shah directly overseeing the election preparations. However, insiders point out that there is a lot of turmoil going on and rebellion by some of the BJP leaders can’t be ruled out.

The BJP is finding it difficult to give party nomination to Congress rebels as it can fuel discontentment among several BJP aspirants who have been working in their respective segments for years. The party leaders point out that on the Kedarnath seat, sitting Congress legislator Shaila Rani Rawat defected to the BJP. She is facing anti-incumbency while her rival Asha Nautiyal, a former BJP legislator, has an edge over her. However, if Shaila Rani Rawat gets the BJP ticket, it will leave Asha Nautiyal dissatisfied.

Similarly, Om Gopal Rawat lost to Subodh Uniyal of the Congress from Narendranagar in Tehri Garhwal by a narrow margin in the 2012 Assembly elections. Subodh Uniyal has since crossed over to the BJP and is a hopeful of the ticket, much to chagrin of Om Gopal Rawat, who has been vocal against the party nomination to Subodh.

Former minister Harak Singh Rawat had added to the woes of the BJP by claiming the ticket from Lansdowne in Pauri Garhwal, much to the discomfort of sitting BJP legislator Dilip Singh Rawat. The BJP Central leadership has to do a tight rope walk in adjusting rebel Congress legislators.

Chief Minister Harish Rawat is hoping to rope in strong BJP rebels, particularly on the seats of rebel Congress MLAs. He has already attacked the BJP for attempting to put up dummy candidates to cut through Congress vote bank on various seats where neck and neck battle was expected.

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