By Aryan Agarwal
Right after the elections, most of the exit polls on Thursday foretold a clean sweep for BJP in Uttarakhand but early in the morning on the decision day both the leading political parties (BJP and Congress) kept their fingers crossed.
At stake this year was the fate of 637 candidates, of whom 62 are women and two from the third gender. The state saw its highest-ever voter turnout with 68 per cent voting across its 69 assembly constituencies on February 15. A high voter turnout is conventionally perceived as a vote for change and it holds true in Uttarakhand as well. BJP had lost the chance to form a government in the state by a whisker five years ago, when the Congress had 32 seats and the BJP 31 seats. A party needs to win 36 seats to be in majority in the 70-member assembly. This time the election results were in line with the prediction of the exit poll as BJP toppled Congress by winning over 2/3rd of the seats to command a clear majority in the state.
Saffron has definitely become the dominant hue of Uttarakhand. Congress-ruled Uttarakhand is set to go into the BJP’s kitty with the saffron party winning a comfortable majority. Chief Minister Harish Rawat did survive a trust vote last year after a rebellion in his party. He faced an all-round attack from the BJP and his old associates, who switched to BJP ahead of the polls in February. This did not deter his confidence of winning the assembly elections again.
Most of the top Congress leaders including former Congress CM Vijay Bahuguna son Saurabh Bahuguna, cabinet minister Yashpal Arya and Harak Singh Rawat migrated from Congress to fight on BJP ticket and won in their respective constituencies by a clear majority. The incumbent Congress suffered a huge blow when the CM himself contested from two constituencies – Hardwar Rural and Kiccha; and lost both the seats by a margin of over 12,000 and 1,000 votes respectively.
During the campaign, Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged the hill state to punish the Congress, which he said, had brought disrepute to the ‘Dev Bhoomi’. The Congress, on the other hand, targeted the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on a host of other issues, including demonetization.
Irrespective of the claims from both the sides, BJP has been successful in wooing the voters; giving a reason to erupted celebrations at the national headquarters in New Delhi and the state office in Dehradun.