Former Uttarakhand Chief Minister and All India Congress Committee general secretary Harish Rawat has made an emotional appeal to voters to support the veteran leader. Terming himself an old “sewak” of the Constitution and democracy, Rawat has asked the public to vote for Congress.
This Lok Sabha election is crucial for Harish Rawat and Congress in Uttarakhand. After facing a 5-0 defeat in the 2014 Lok Sabha election, Congress suffered the worst ever defeat in the state assembly election in 2017. Low on confidence, even this election offers a challenging situation for the national party in the hill state.
Apart from Harish Rawat and Pradeep Tamta, Congress has provided tickets to three new faces. With little work at booth level, Congress is hoping to win five seats from Uttarakhand on anti-incumbency against the Modi government. Harish Rawat is contesting from Nainital, Pradeep Tamta from Almora, Manish Khanduri from Pauri Garhwal, Ambrish Kumar from Haridwar and Pritam Singh from Tehri parliamentary seats.
The entire Harish Rawat group is presently busy in campaigning in Nainital seat. The effort has left another key member of the team, Pradeep Tamta, alone in Almora. Harish shifted to Nainital seat this time and besides BJP he is also fighting his adversaries in Congress. BJP is so confident of the situation that senior BJP leader Bhagat Singh Koshyari recently claimed that Harish Rawat will be registering the biggest defeat of his political career this time. One BJP leader went to the extent of saying that only the last rites of Harish Rawat are left to be completed.
To this Harish Rawat retorted, “Even my ashes will be used in some development in Uttarakhand. I have always worked for the progress of Uttarakhand. In election you win or lose, but I never lose my determination.”
A hectic poll campaign concluded in Uttarakhand on Tuesday evening. In a move to search a safe seat, Harish moved from Haridwar to Nainital. He faces a tough fight against Uttarakhand BJP president Ajay Bhatt. A satisfactory result in Lok Sabha polls will put the Uttarakhand Congress on a revival mode. A defeat will further weaken the party.
Apart from the public rallies by Congress president Rahul Gandhi none of the party star campaigners visited Uttarakhand in the election season. On this, senior Congress leader Indira Hirdayesh said, “All the private choppers were booked by BJP and we failed to get any helicopters to ferry our star campaigners.”