Uttarakhand to vote for all five seats Wednesday
Uttarakhand will Wednesday see its third parliamentary election in its 14 years of existence. All five seats in the state will vote in a single phase.
Around 6.88 million electors will cast their ballot in 10,094 polling stations to decide the electoral fate of 74 candidates in the fray.
Since Uttarakhand was carved out of Uttar Pradesh in the year 2000, the state has seen two Lok Sabha elections - the first in 2004 and the second one in 2009 - and three state assembly polls.
Both the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress have been voted to power but none has been able to retain it.
The first Lok Sabha election in the state in 2004 saw the BJP gaining the upper hand as it won four of the five seats and the Congress bagged only one.
However, in 2009, fortunes turned in favour of the Congress as it bagged all five seats.
Uttarakhand has seen seven chief ministers in 14 years, which in itself is an indicator of the unsettled political scenario in the state.
In Hardwar, Renuka Rawat of the Congress is pitted against BJP's Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, who served as chief minister during 2009-11.
Renuka Rawat is the wife of Chief Minister Harish Rawat, who had won the seat in 2009 and served as union minister for water resources but resigned earlier this year after taking over in the state.
Saket Bahuguna of the Congress will fight for the Tehri Garhwal constituency.
He is the son of former chief minister Vijay Bahuguna, who had won the seat in 2009 and resigned in 2012 after becoming chief minister. In the by-poll that followed, BJP candidate Mala Rajya Laxmi defeated Saket Bahuguna.
After last year's flash floods in Uttarakhand caused devastation and rendered thousands of people homeless, the Congress government and then chief minister Vijay Bahuguna drew flak due to slow rehabilitation and provision of aid.
Later , Bahuguna was replaced by Harish Rawat, after a nearly two-year term.
BJP candidate Laxmi is the richest candidate in the fray here, with assets worth over Rs.166 crore.
In Almora, incumbent Lok Sabha member Pradeep Tamta of the Congress is pitted against Ajay Tamta of the BJP.
In Garhwal, BJP candidate and former state chief minister Maj. Gen. (retd) Bhuwan Chandra Khanduri is fighting it out against Harak Singh Rawat of the Congress.
Khanduri was also union minister of state for road transport and highways in the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government in 2000.
Nainital-Udhamsingh Nagar will see incumbent member and Congress candidate K.C. Singh Baba battle it out against Bhagat Singh Koshyari of the BJP and Balli Singh Cheema of the Aam Aadmi Party.
The state has seen three BJP chief ministers - Nityanand Swami (2000-01), Khanduri who served twice (2007-09, 2011-12) and Nishank (2009-11). Vijay Bahuguna of the Congress has served as chief minister 2012-14.
(Posted on 06-05-2014)