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It's a contest between two Tamtas in Uttarakhand's Almora

Press Trust of India  |  Pithoragarh 

The contest for Uttarakhand's seat, one of the five in the state going to polls Thursday, will be a battle between two Tamtas, one from the BJP the other from opposition

BJP's Ajay Tamta, a sitting and Union for Textiles, and Congress' Tamta, a member, are in the fray for the Lok Sabha constituency, the only reserved seat in the state.

While the BJP nominee has cited improved rail, road and air connectivity as his achievements in the last five years, the candidate has talked of the failures of the in shaping a policy.

"Had the implemented the V K Chaturvedi Report on development, the funds to spend on infrastructure projects of the state would have poured," Tamta said.

Ajay Tamta, on the other hand, has said that historic works has been done for development of the constituency during his tenure.

"It was during my tenure that the broad gauge rail line was gifted to the people of Pithoragarh and Champawat districts from Tanakpur," he said, adding that the was linked with the UDAN scheme due to his efforts.

Voters and poll-watchers said they are keeping a close watch on the poll, but didn't give a clear favourite.

"has been in constant touch with local voters in the last five years, but Pradeep, already a sitting member, has not been that commonly seen," said Chanshekher Dwivedi, a resident of

Rama Devi, who hails from Kharkot village and attended rallies of both the parties in Pithoragarh, said, "We are watching every move."

While she said she was impressed by the Modi government's move to "teach a lesson to Pakistan", Rahul Gandhi's assurance to give Rs 72,000 annually to the poorest 20 per cent families of the country also attracted her.

The "thin" turnout at Pradeep's campaign meetings in the constituency are an indication that he has so far failed to strike a chord with the voters, a poll watcher said.

"Instead of raising local issues, he has been talking only about the failures of the Modi government, drawing a lukewarm response from the people," he added.

is bound to benefit from staying in touch with the electorate as he toured the area frequently during the last five years, propagating schemes of the Modi government, the poll-watchers added.

"will definitely reap electoral benefits because of works such as the under-construction all-weather road, broad from and the social welfare schemes for the poor announced by the Centre," said Bhagwan Singh Rawat, of the Pithoragarh Jan Manch, said.

But voters cannot be taken for granted this time as the "Modi wave has waned" over the past five years, Rawat claimed.

"All the programmes announced by the Modi government, be it the all-weather road, or the Kisan Samman Nidhi, have failed. These could not help in reducing migration from the remote villages of the constituency," he alleged.

The constituency has a total of 13,21,658 voters, spread over 14 assembly segments of four districts including Almora, Pithoragarh, Bageshwar and Champawat.

In the 2014 general elections, Ajay had defeated by a margin of 95,690 votes.

According to Rawat, the need of the hill people is employment, but the failed to open any new venture in the region that could give the unemployed youth an opportunity.

Meanwhile, voters alleged that sitting Ajay Tamta has not been attentive to local issues but the "Modi wave", though fading, will help him. "We are not happy with the performance of our MP," Ramesh Goswami, a in district, said.

Ajay Rathor, an in Pithoragarh town, claims the air strike on a terrorist camp in will benefit the BJP as the constituency is home to a large number of retired army personnel.

However, a section of voters was vocal in counting the "failures" of the BJP governments at the Centre and the state.

"We are still facing lack of health facilities, school teachers and roads to all corners of the constituency," said Dhiraj Koranga, resident of Almora town.

Some of the villages have also called for poll boycott to draw the attention of the administration towards incomplete road projects.

V K Jogdande said the administration has reached out to Dungri, Kanadhar, Namik and Pangla villages and listened to the problems raised by residents.

"We assured them that works on long-pending road projects will begin shortly after the elections. We hope they will come and vote in big numbers on April 11," he added.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, April 10 2019. 21:05 IST