Dehradun: The Ganga originates in Gangotri, and so does the road to government formation in Uttarakhand, it seems.
According to a widely held notion associated with successive assembly polls, whichever party wins the Gangotri constituency in Uttarkashi forms the government in the hill state. As Uttarakhand prepares to go to the polls on February 14, the constituency is once again in focus, but this time it is witnessing a triangular contest with the fledgling AAP is in the fray, which, according to analysts, could put to test Gangotri’s status as a bellwether seat.
BJP’s Suresh Chauhan is pitted against the Congress’s Vijaypal Singh Sajwan in Gangotri and AAP’s chief ministerial candidate Col Ajay Kothiyal.
During the counting of votes in the 2017 assembly polls also, there was immense interest in the result of Gangotri seat and after the victory of BJP candidate Gopal Singh Rawat, the party came to power under the leadership of Trivendra Singh Rawat with a huge mandate of 57 seats out of 70.
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Gopal Singh Rawat died after a prolonged illness last year and the seat was vacant since then. Chauhan exuded confidence that people will once again give their blessings to the BJP not only in Gangotri but throughout the state. Apart from the candidates, their parties are also campaigning aggressively on the crucial seat.
Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami visited Uttarkashi on Saturday and sought votes from the people for the party.
Congress nominee Sajwan is also busy in his election campaign and the leaders of his party are leaving no stone unturned to ensure his victory.
”We will win the Gangotri elections and form the Congress government,” Sajwan said.
In the first assembly elections of the state held in the year 2002, Sajwan won on a Congress ticket and a Congress government was formed under the leadership of Narayan Dutt Tiwari.
In the year 2007, BJP candidate Gopal Singh Rawat won and his party came to power under the leadership of Major General Bhuvan Chandra Khanduri. In the year 2012, Sajwan was once again victorious and the Congress came to power under the leadership of Vijay Bahuguna. In the next election in 2017, Gopal Singh Rawat won and Trivendra Singh Rawat’s government was formed.
Political observer and professor Harshpati Doval says such ”myths” of bellwethers “forecasting” the overall election result are common in electoral politics and do catch the imagination of people.
Like Gangotri, Badrinath seat in Chamoli district and Ramnagar seat in Nainital district have enjoyed similar status.
In 2002 and 2012, when Congress’ Anusuya Prasad Maikhuri and Rajendra Bhandari won respectively, the government was formed by their party, while in 2007 and 2017, the BJP’s Kedar Singh Fonia and Mahendra Bhat won and the BJP came to power.
Exactly the same results have come in Ramnagar seat as well. In the 2002 and 2012 assembly elections, Congress’s Yogbar Singh Rawat and Amrita Rawat won, while in 2007 and 2017 BJP’s Diwan Singh Bisht won and his party came to power.