BJP announces second list for Uttarakhand polls, only two seats yet to be declared

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The Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday released its second list of 9 candidates for the Uttarakhand Assembly elections scheduled next month. With 59 candidates declared in the first list, 68 out of total 70 names have been announced so far.

The second list has confirmed that Yamkeshwar MLA Ritu Bhushan Khanduri, daughter of former CM BC Khanduri, will contest from the Kotdwar seat against Congress candidate Surendra Singh Negi. According to party sources, Ritu wanted to continue from her original seat but the party has gambled on Renu Bisht in place of Khanduri from Yamkeshwar this time. Bisht would be contesting against Congress candidate Shailendra Singh Rawat.

It is said the decision was based on a pre-poll internal survey which showed that he chances of winning the seat are low. In 2017, riding the Narendra Modi wave, Ritu defeated Renu Bisht, who was then an independent candidate, by a margin of 8,982 votes. Congress candidate Shailendra Singh Rawat was a close third.

Following the first list of 59 candidates, amid initial speculation that the BJP may not give her ticket, she said to the media that the decision of not fielding her from her seat must have a good reason. “I belong to a family in which we do not ask many questions. There must have been some good enough reason for not giving me the ticket,” she said.

Former state cabinet minister Harak Singh Rawat, who recently joined the Congress party along with his daughter-in-law Anukriti Gusain, won the Kotdwar seat in the last elections. While the Congress party has not yet given a ticket to Harak Singh Rawat, Gusain is confirmed to be contesting from the Lansdowne constituency on Congress ticket. Harak was recently removed from the BJP membership and from the Uttarakhand state cabinet on the charges of indiscipline.

With just two more candidates to be announced, the BJP has so far named 7 women candidates. The Congress party, which has yet announced 64 candidates in the 70-member Assembly, has named 6 women so far. The second woman candidate announced by BJP on Wednesday is Shaila Rani Rawat, who will continue to contest from the Kedarnath seat. In 2017 she was defeated by Congress candidate Manoj Rawat.



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