After the poor show in the assembly elections early this year, the two leading regional parties – Utararakhand Kranti Dal (UKD) and Uttarakhand Raksha Morcha (URM) are fast losing their ground in Uttarakhand, if the Oct 10 Tehri Lok sabha byepoll is any indication.
Both the candidates of the two parties lost their deposits in the election the results for which were declared yesterday.
BJP’s candidate Mala Rajya Laxmi Shah defeated Congress party’s nominee and chief minister Vijay Bahuguna’s son Saket by 22431 votes. While Shah polled 245835 votes, Saket managed to get 223141 votes despite the fact that the price rise and cap on LPG cylinders were the main issues in the byelection.
In the assembly elections held in January, the UKD which is the main regional party and credited for the creation of Uttarakhand state, had bagged just one seat from Yamunotri where urban development minister Pritam Singh Panwar won. In the remaining seats where the UKD contested, the party candidates lost badly at the hustings with most of them losing their deposits. The party had suffered a vertical split few years ago. There are two factions of the UKD in Uttarakhand – one headed by former minister Diwakar Bhatt and another headed by Trivendra Singh Panwar.
Significantly, top leaders and party workers of the UKD had actively participated in the statehood agitation in 1990s which led to the creation of new state of Uttarakhand in 2000.
The Tehri Lok sabha bypoll result also did not auger well for the UKD. The party’s president Trivendra Singh Panwar got only 6939 votes and lost his deposit. Panwar’s performance was not only bad in the plains but also in the hills. The UKD sources said the pressure is now mounting on Panwar to resign.
Similarly, Kunwar Jupinder Singh of the URM which was floated by former tourism minister Lt Gen (retd) T P S Rawat last year on the issue of corruption also lost deposit getting only 7466 votes. The Morcha had also lost from all the seats from where it contested in the assembly elections in January.
“The future both the parties is bleak as they have no presence at the grass-root level,” said a political observer.
Regional parties like BSP and Samajwadi party did not contest the Tehri bypoll this time after their poor performance in the January assembly elections. While Samajwadi party failed open its account, BSP got only three seats as against a tally of 8 in 2007 assembly polls.