Dehradun, October 8
The last few days of aggressive campaigning by the Uttarakhand BJP has brought the party candidate Mala Raj Lakshmi Shah in contention for the Tehri byelection.
As BJP leaders managed to put up a semblance of united front against the Congress, it now remains to be seen how successful the party is in exploiting the latent anger against the cap on subsidised cylinders, inflation and poor relief work in Uttarakashi to its advantage on the polling day.
Throughout the period of electioneering, the muscle and money power of the Congress was on full display as ministers were marshalled to campaign for Saket Bahuguna. Against this, the BJP banked on the charisma of the erstwhile royal family of Tehri whose last ruler Manvendra Shah had consistently come good.
“We could not match the government and minister-level mobilisation of the Congress. Our energies would have been sapped had we followed them. Then our budget too is limited, after all it is a byelection. But, our campaign evolved in the last phase and we are waiting for the silent voters to vote against the Congress,” said a senior BJP leader.
Banking on the backlash against the government for poor relief work in Uttarkashi, the BJP leaders are hopeful that it would also influence some segments in Tehri. “The BJP is in a comfortable position in some assembly segments in Tehri and Uttarkashi but everything depends on the booth level management and our party workers ability to bring a large number of voters out of their houses to vote,” said BS Chuphal, Uttarakhand BJP chief.
On test will also be Munna Singh Chauhan’s popularity, who has rejoined the BJP and is likely to influence the party fortunes in several assembly segments.
But aware of a tough contest in Dehradun district, the party of late had been working on strengthening its position in Vikasnagar, Sahaspur and Rajpur assembly segments.
“It will be a tough fight in Dehradun district which has the maximum number of voters. In one particular assembly segment, the inactivity of our own MLA may cost us dear,” said a BJP leader.
On the face of it, the BJP is also jittery about the last-minute desertion by its booth-level workers in several places and has especially sent teams from other parts of the state to monitor them.

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