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Uttarakhand » Politics

Posted at: Jan 16, 2017, 1:27 AM; last updated: Jan 16, 2017, 1:27 AM (IST)CONSTITUENCY SCAN: RISHIKESH (GENERAL)

Two-time MLA faces anti-incumbency

Sound victory in 2012

  • Prem Chand Aggarwal had defeated Congresscandidate Rajpal Kharola by 7,271 votes in 2012 Assembly elections
  • Congress votes were divided at that time as its rebel Deep Sharma contested as an Independent
  • Aggarwal's first victory came in 2002 elections when he defeated Congress' Shoorveer Singh Sajwan
  • Local residents say Aggarwal couldn't bring bigprojects, but the MLA maintains that the government ignored the constituency
  • So far the Congress has not finalised its candidate.
  • The names doing the rounds include PCC president Kishore Upadhyay, Rajpal Kharola and Deep Sharma, who rejoined the Congress
  • The state government didn't sanction any big project. Rawat ignored us because during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Rishikesh polled the highest number of votes, leading to the defeat of his wife Renuka Rawat. — Prem Chand Aggarwal, BJP MLA
  • The MLA did not pursue the matter related to big projects with conviction. He always concentrated on road construction. The IDPL revival issue still hangs fire and so are other issues. — Dr Raje Negi, social worker\
  • Uttarakhand Congress president Kishore Upadhyay is said to be among the front runners for the party ticket from the Rishikesh Assembly segment.

Neena Sharma

Tribune News Service

Dehradun, January 15

Prem Chand Aggarwal, sitting MLA from the Rishikesh Assembly constituency, is among the few BJP legislators who will be seeking re-election for the third time. But the going is expected to be tough for Aggarwal in case the BJP gives him the ticket this time too. He will be facing anti-incumbency.

Aggarwal was first elected in 2002 when he defeated Congress candidate Shoorveer Singh Sajwan. He defeated Congress candidate Rajpal Kharola by 7,271 votes in a triangular contest in the 2012 elections.

Rebel Congress leader Deep Sharma, who fought the elections as an Independent candidate, divided Congress votes, benefiting Aggarwal in a triangular contest.

Constituency profile

The Rishikesh constituency encompasses 19 gram sabhas. The upgrade of the Rishikesh Municipal Council to municipal corporation was announced just a day before the Election Commission announced the date for the Assembly elections. 

Issues that matter

Rishikesh has tremendous tourism potential. It attracts scores of adventure sports enthusiasts during the rafting season. Though there is a considerable scope for creation of jobs locally, the potential has not been fully tapped.

Further, residents of the area are still awaiting the revival of public sector undertaking IDPL. 

Villagers have also been troubled due to attacks by elephants which regularly stray into their fields and attack farmers. These issues, though old, are likely to dominate the 2017 elections in the constituency.

MLA’s report card

He got land sanctioned for a Central School at  IDPL with the help of former Union Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani.

He managed to get solar lights installed at  Bhatowala and  Raiwala to prevent wild animals straying into the area and also resolved the Sahab Nagar road issue with the help of the forest authorities.

However, locals say the MLA has failed to bring in any big projects in Rishikesh. “The MLA did not pursue  the matter with conviction. His always concentrated on road construction. The IDPL revival issue is still hanging fire and so are other issues,” says Dr Raje Negi, a social worker at  Rishikesh.

On his part, the MLA says  the governments led by both Vijay Bahuguna and Harish Rawat meted out a step-motherly treatment to his constituency. “Both chief ministers did not sanction any big projects for my constituency. Harish Rawat deliberately sidelined my constituency because during the 2014 parliamentary elections, Rishikesh that is part of the Haridwar parliamentary constituency polled the highest number of votes, leading to the defeat of Harish Rawat’s wife Renuka Rawat, who was the Congress candidate,” says Aggarwal.

He adds at least four announcements for Rishikesh that did not materialise include extension of Ganga water at Triveni Ghat for disabled persons, construction of a postgraduate college and declaration of a pashulok area as a revenue village. The upgrade of the Rishikesh Municipal Council as municipal corporation  was announced very late.

Howver, the Congress rejects these allegations. The party says the MLA always focused on construction of roads and as such big projects eluded him. “It is natural that the ruling party will give preference to its MLAs. The trouble is that Aggarwal did not move out of his comfort zone and did not go an extra mile,” says Rajpal Kharola.

A resident of nearby Doiwala says Aggarwal has  managed to get rid of the ‘outsider’ tag that his opponents levelled against him in the last two Assembly elections. 

So far the Congress has not finalised its candidate. The names doing the rounds include PCC president Kishore Upadhyay, Rajpal Kharola and Deep Sharma, who rejoined the Congress.

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