By OUR STAFF REPORTER
Dehradun, 29 Oct: Both major parties of the state, the BJP and Congress have begun mulling who would be their respective candidates for the Pithoragarh assembly seat bypoll. Thus far, no clarity has emerged on the issue in either party.
It is reported that the final say on the BJP candidate will be that of the party High Command. The Congress remains confused as claims are being made and endorsements offered by senior leaders.
The bypoll will take place four weeks from now. The issue is of particular concern for the BJP as the incumbent on the seat was the late Prakash Pant, who was the State Finance Minister. The losses suffered by incumbent ministers in Haryana have alarmed the BJP, which does not want a similar rejection on a prestigious seat. It is clear that the party is not a guarantor of victory and the candidate will have to be carefully chosen.
According to BJP State President Ajay Bhatt, the party will follow the established procedure in selecting the candidate. A list of three possible candidates will be sent to the High Command, where the final selection will be made. No names are being mentioned as yet.
On the other hand, the front-runner for the Congress is Mayukh Mehar, who is considered a strong contender. It is reported that Mehar has declared his disinclination to contest. The party will consider others only after Mehar makes his position clear on the issue.
An earlier bypoll in Tharali had been won by the BJP in 2018, but circumstances have changed since then in light of the increasingly indifferent performance of the State Government. The BJP did not do too well in the panchayat elections, coming in second after the independents. This has naturally enthused the Congress and it wishes to build on the momentum.