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Posted at: Jan 31, 2017, 12:36 AM; last updated: Jan 31, 2017, 12:36 AM (IST)CONSTITUENCY WATCH: KHANPUR

Will Kunwar be Champion 4th time?

BJP’s Kunwar Pranav Champion left Cong last year; facing Cong’s Chaudhary Yashvir, an ex-BSP leader

1,35,023 voters

  • The Khanpur constituency has 72,049 male and 62,967 female voters
  • Kunwar Pranav Singh Champion has been a legislator from Haridwar district for threeconsecutive times
  • He won the Assembly elections in 2007 and 2012 on Cong ticket, and 2002 poll as an Independent
  • Congress has fielded Chaudhary Yashvir Singh, much to thechagrin of Chaudhary Rajendra Singhwho was expecting a party ticket
  • Chaudhary Yashvir is a two-time BSP legislator from the Iqbalpur Assembly seat
  • He defeated Samajwadi Party’s Muneer Alam by 13,267 votes in 2007, and by 10,675 votesin 2002
  • Bahujan Samaj Party has fielded Mohammed Mufti Riyasat from this seat as the constituency has a sizeable minority population

Sandeep Rawat

Tribune News Service

Haridwar, January 29

The Khanpur Assembly segment is set to witness a close contest between two Gujjar leaders — BJP’s Kunwar Pranav Singh Champion and Congress Chaudhary Yashvir Singh. While Champion left the Congress to join the BJP last year, Chaudhary Yashvir was with the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) before joining the Congress.

Chaudhary Yashvir is a two-time BSP legislator from the Iqbalpur Assembly segment that got defunct after delimitation in 2009. He defeated Samajwadi Party’s Muneer Alam with huge margins twice.

In 2007 elections, Yashvir bagged 29,193 votes to defeat Alam (15,926) with a margin of 13,267 votes. He had bagged 21,462 votes in 2002, defeating Alam (10,797) by a margin of 10,675 votes.

Meanwhile, the BSP has fielded Mohammed Mufti Riyasat from this seat, keeping in mind the sizeable population of the minority community.

Kunwar Pranav Singh Champion has been a three-time legislator from Haridwar district. He represented the Khanpur Assembly segment in 2012 elections as a Congress legislator. He was polled 23,072 votes and defeated his nearest rival Chaudhary Kulveer Singh (BSP) who had got 20,241 votes in 2012. Earlier in 2007, Champion had won from the Laksar Assembly segment on a Congress ticket, defeating BSP’s Pal Singh Kashyap by a margin of 5,758 votes. Prior to that in the first state Assembly elections in 2002, he had won as an Independent from the Laksar segment, drubbing BSP’s Qazi Mohammad Mohiuddin by a just 612 votes.

Now, he is eyeing a record fourth straight win from the district on BJP ticket.

Champion was among nine legislators who revolted from the Congress in May last year. He was disqualified under the Prevention of Defection Law.

A Gujjar-dominated belt, Khanpur is a rural segment wherein agricultural issues hold major key in any election. This segment is also one of the most flood-prone area of the district, with every monsoonal season rain creating havoc.

As per Kunwar Pranav Singh, he has ensured maximum usage of his MLA LAD fund for agricultural development and flood safety measures. He cites building of dozen odd flood safety embankment walls in vulnerable villages and also connecting small bridges. “After flash floods ravaged dozens of villages in my constituency in 2013, Rs 60-crore was sanctioned for bringing relief to people,” he says.

He accuses Chief Minister Harish Rawat of ignoring his constituency. “Despite this, I tried to get several development projects under the state as well as district scheme for the Lakshar segment,” he said. He lauded former Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna (now in the BJP fold) for focusing on this Assembly segment. Voters will once again vote for me and the Congress candidate will suffer a major jolt, he says.

Meanwhile, Chaudhary Yashvir Singh claims that Champion has failed to cater to the needs of Laksar people in the last 10 years as it remains the “most backward segment” of the district. “Several villages are inundated every year during monsoon. This has been happening for the last 10 years. No proper rehabilitation scheme has been made for them. This is so only because of Kunwar Pranav Champion’s apathy,” he says.

He rubbished the allegations levelled by Champion against Chief Minister Harish Rawat of being biased. “Champion has now shifted to the BJP, so he is making irresponsible statements. In fact, he was given a minister’s rank in the capacity of the chairperson of the State Forest Corporation but he failed to leave any impact. He got indulged in corrupt activities. People want change as they are fed up with the so-called publicity oriented working style of Kunwar Pranav. Agriculture has suffered. The infrastructure related to health and education is poor. Well-equipped medical centres and higher education institutes are the need of the hour,” he added.

Chaudhary Yashvir is also facing factionalism within the Congress as Chaudhary Rajendra Singh, former Zila Panchayat chairperson, who was also in the race for a Congress ticket, is said to be unhappy with the candidature of Chaudhary Yashvir.

Chaudhary Rajendra Singh’s supporters say he is quite shocked over the party’s decision to prefer Yashvir Singh, former leader of the Bahujan Samaj Party, over him.

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