BJP candidate Mala Rajyalakshmi Shah won the Tehri Lok Sabha bypolls by 22,431 votes on Saturday. Analysts said the victory is a measure of the grudge of the people against the Congress-led UPA Government over its recent economic policy decisions, particularly its cap on use of domestic LPG.
The curb on LPG, reservation in promotions, the one rank one pension issue and disaster in Uttarkashi were the four issues that made a severe dent in the Congress vote bank and Saket had to taste defeat in his maiden political contest in the Parliamentary seat, observers said. The Tehri result would have a long-term effect on Uttarakhand politics. Although both the Congress and BJP fielded newcomers in the bypolls, they had had good exposure in the field as they came from political families.
Congress candidate Saket Bahuguna is the elder son of State Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna, grandson of ex-CM Late Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna and nephew of former UP Congress chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi.
BJP candidate Mala Rajyalakshmi Shah is the daughter-in-law of the Tehri royal family and former Tehri MP Late Manvender Shah, who served the constituency eight times, and wife of Manujendra Shah, whom CM Bahuguna defeated in the 2007 Tehri Lok Sabha bypoll.
The result has come as a severe setback to the Government and bodes ill for the November elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh. State Chief Minister Bahuguna, too, will have to face repercussions in coming days.
The Tehri Lok Sabha constituency, which comprises 14 Assembly seats, includes both hills and plains. Interestingly, both the Congress and the BJP have been representing six Assembly seats each while the Yamnotri seat is being represented by the UKD-P, which is a partner in the Congress-led Uttarakhand Government. The other Tehri seat is represented by an Independent candidate.
This time, the BJP has defeated the Congress in nine out of 14 Assembly constituencies. It has even made inroads in Gangotri, Raipur, Rajpur Road and Vikasnagar, all Congress constituencies, while the Congress progressed in two BJP seats — Purola and Dhanolti. Ironically, the BJP candidate has registered a lead in Yamunotri and Tehri Assembly seats as well.
The analysts also list among reasons some decisions of the State Government which have impacted Government employees. First among these is the non-implementation of the Supreme Court directives on reservation in promotion.
The Union Government has announced a `2,300-crore pension package for the ex-military personnel and even publicised it widely but it has disappointed former soldiers with senior ex-servicemen saying the proposal falls far short of that which has been demanded. There is a large number of ex-servicemen and servicemen in Uttarakhand and their presence ensured Congress witnessing defeat in postal ballot by 486 votes.
If we go by the Assembly election 2012 results, the Congress got maximum support in Chakrata and Vikasnagar Assembly seats where it polled 50.56 and 48.34 per cent of the votes, respectively. This time, ex-MLA Munna Singh Chouhan, who had joined the BJP, made a severe dent in the Congress vote bank where the BJP candidate wrested a lead of 5,548 votes. The Congress enjoyed maximum lead in Chakrata constituency at 9,645 votes or else it would have lost by over 31,000 votes. Interestingly Chief Minister Bahuguna’s residence falls in Raipur constituency where the BJP has registered a record win by 10,134 votes.
Src: Daily Pioneer