Uttarakhand elections are barely a few months away. It is turning one of the most interesting elections to be fought in 2022. Seemingly, it will be one of the few states where a clear winner is still not in the sight. While BJP does not look poised to win, Congress, the alternative is also losing the contest.
Neither BJP nor Congress is stable in Uttarakhand
The last few months have been rapturous for both BJP and Congress in Uttarakhand. For BJP, Pushkar Singh Dhami has turned out to be not so impressive leader in the state. On the other hand, the Congress party’s usual infighting is ensuring that it won’t be able to benefit from BJP’s weakness.
In the 2017 assembly elections, BJP was voted to power with huge margins. It had won 57 out of the total of 70 seats. Uttarakhand was facing threats of radical Islamism trying to overshadow its rich Hindu legacy. The BJP government was expected to reinvigorate Hindus’ culture in the state. Trivendra Singh Rawat was handed over this responsibility.
Trivendra Singh Rawat’s selection was a failure for BJP
However, Rawat’s selection turned out to be one of the biggest blunders by the BJP. Uttarakhand’s already established Hindu way of life just needed an encouraging push from the head of the state. Rawat failed to do so. Throughout his four years long administration, people kept waiting for a decisive step.
Meanwhile, Rawat kept facing allegations of his family’s interference in administration. He failed to take any action on Land-Jihad. Adding to his miseries, he took steps to ensure that state administration takes over the control of Mandirs present in the state.
Chardham Shrine Management Board Act, 2019, was brought to oversee the management of the four holy Hindu shrines which together form the Char Dham Yatra. Under the Chardham Shrine Management Board Act, 2019, the government planned to take over the administration from individual committees to fully under its control.
The move was heavily opposed by advocates of Hindu rights in the country. After various rounds of negotiations with prominent Hindu leaders including leaders from BJP, RSS, VHP; Rawat was not willing to concede ground. Eventually, he had to be removed from his post.
3 chief ministers speak volumes about volatility
Later, Tirath Singh Rawat was brought in as his replacement. He announced his chief ministership by decoupling 51 Mandirs from the government’s control. However, Tirath’s lack of management skills proved to be chink in armour and he was soon replaced by Pushkar Singh Dhami.
Dhami was brought in as a majestic personality. He was expected to usher in some big reforms. However, other than the scrapping of Char Dham Devasthanam board and crackdown on land-Jihad, nothing much is there to show up on Dhami’s resume. His Charismatic image has also fallen apart.
Congress failed Harish Rawat in the hilly state
Congress could take advantage of BJP’s weakness in the state. However, it hit a hammer on its own foot. Harish Rawat is the only credible face left for Congress in Uttarakhand. Instead of judiciously utilizing Harish’s productivity, Congress has ensured that Rawat’s credibility is lost among party workers.
Taking advantage of Harish’s seniority, Congress sent him to solve the Punjab crisis. Rawat soon understood that he can’t get rid of Sidhu, so he asked the party high command to send him back to Uttarakhand. After Sidhu’s political coup was successful, Congress was forced to send him back.
Harish returned to his home state with lost respect. His legacy has been shattered due to Punjab failure. No one is willing to listen to him. His words go unheard with junior cadres. Adding to his misery, Congress top brass has provided him with incompetent people to work with. Rawat had even made some tweets in frustration, signalling that he could start his own party.
It would be unwise to arrive at conclusion before result day. However, partys’ recent history vis-à-vis election preparations can predict a lot. Going by all permutations and combinations, Congress lacks a loyal cadre, while the national level party lacks a credible face in the state.