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Polling for Manglaur, Badrinath Assembly seats today

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Byelections

By Arun Pratap Singh

Dehradun, 9 Jul: Polling for byelections for Manglaur (District Haridwar) and Badrinath (District Chamoli) assembly constituencies will be held tomorrow. For this the campaign ended in both the constituencies yesterday evening. Counting of votes will be held on 13 July. In Manglaur, the fight appears to be triangular between Qazi Nizamuddin of Congress, Ubaidur Rehman of BSP and Kartar Singh Bhadana of BJP, while in Badrinath, it appears to be a direct fight between Rajendra Singh MLA of BJP and Lakhpat Butolia of Congress. In all there are 10 candidates contesting in the by-polls.

It may be recalled that Manglaur assembly constituency had fallen vacant in October last year due to the sudden death of the incumbent MLA Sarvat Karim Ansari of BSP. Interestingly, Manglaur Assembly constituency has seen arch rivalry between Sarwat Karim Ansari and Qazi Nizamuddin. They had been contesting against each other since the time of the first assembly elections in the newly formed state of Uttarakhand in 2002. The first time Qazi Nizamuddin had won the election against Ansari in 2002, he was in the BSP, while Ansari was in Congress. In 2007, Nizamuddin again won against Ansari on the BSP ticket but turned a rebel and just before the assembly elections in 2012, he switched loyalty to Congress under influence of veteran Congress leader Harish Rawat. Interestingly, Qazi Nizamuddin’s father Haji Taslimuddin was also in Congress before joining BSP in undivided UP.  In 2012, Nizamuddin contested the election on the Congress ticket, while his arch rival from Congress, Sarwat Karim Ansari joined the BSP after being denied the Congress ticket. It was Sarwat Karim Ansari’s first win against Nizamuddin. In 2017, however Nizamuddin managed to defeat Ansari. In 2022, again the tables were turned, and it was Ansari who defeated Nizamuddins. But the seat fell vacant in 2023 October due to the sudden death of Ansari. BSP, which usually refrains from contesting byelections, made an exception this time, perhaps to arrest its political decline and declared the son of Late Sarwat Karim Ansari, Ubaidur Rehman, as the party candidate, also hoping to gain sympathy votes in its favour.

At the same time, BJP sprung a major surprise by declaring Kartar Singh Bhadana as its candidate. It may be recalled that Bhadana is not only an outsider (from Haryana) but had contested elections in the past in Haryana and UP. Not only this, Bhadana has also changed parties frequently and his last known political allegiance was for the BSP which he had joined after quitting RLD. He is also a three-time former MLA having won elections twice in Haryana from Samalkha and one time in UP from Khatauli. In Manglaur, he really faces a tough fight against Nizamuddin and Ansari for a number of reasons. One, he has been declared as a parachute candidate since he hails from Haryana and, two, the BJP has never won any election from Manglaur constituency. It remains a mystery for many political pundits why Bhadana was chosen as the BJP candidate instead of a local BJP leader.

At the same time, the Badrinath seat too has an interesting story. It has seen ups and downs of many a leading politicians of the state level. In 2002, BJP’s outgoing MLA Kedar Singh Fonia had lost to Dr Anusuya Prasad Maikhuri of Congress. In 2007, it was Kedar Singh Fonia who defeated Maikhuri. In 2012, both the parties fielded new candidates. While BJP fielded Prem Ballabh Bhatt from here, Congress fielded Rajendra Singh Bhandari and it was Bhandari who won. In 2017, BJP again changed its candidate and fielded Mahendra Bhatt who is now the State BJP President and also a Rajya Sabha MP. Bhatt defeated Rajendra Singh Bhandari. In 2022 however, the tables were turned and it was Bhandari of Congress who defeated Bhatt. However, just before the Parliamentary elections, Bhandari quit the Congress and also resigned as MLA to join the BJP and is now the party’s candidate from this seat. So far, no one has won from this seat twice in a row, which makes the battle quite interesting. With two-time party MLA from here, Dr Anusuya Prasad Maikhuri having died some years ago, the choice for the Congress was also limited and it fielded a new candidate, Lakhpat Butola. Butola has held several positions in PCC and is also known to be popular in the constituency. It remains to be seen how much of a fight he will be able to give to Bhandari, who has considerable influence in the constituency which is evident from the fact that Bhandari had managed to get his wife Rajni Bhandari elected as District Panchayat President of District Chamoli.

To win the by-elections, BJP and Congress leaders have held a large number of rallies. Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami addressed rallies for the BJP candidates in both the constituencies. Along with this, all the workers including the BJP state president have worked hard. Even in Congress, all top leaders including the state president campaigned in both the assembly seats. Counting of votes will be done on 13 July and results are expected on the same day.

Polling parties reach booths in Badrinath, Manglaur seats

By Our Staff Reporter

Dehradun, 9 Jul: Polling parties were sent to all the polling booths in Manglaur and Badrinath assembly constituencies for the bypoll to be held tomorrow. While the polling parties were sent for Badrinath earlier in the day, the polling parties for Manglaur constituencies were sent in the afternoon.

Regarding Badrinath (District Chamoli), all the 210 polling parties had reached their respective booths by evening. Under the supervision of District Election Officer/DM Chamoli Himanshu Khurana, 193 polling parties were sent to their destination from Sports Stadium Gopeshwar. Earlier, 17 polling parties were sent to their respective booths on Monday itself in view of the remote locations of these booths and they are reported to have reached by afternoon.

The District Election Officer, Chamoli, directed the polling parties to discharge their election responsibilities with full devotion. General Observer Anita Ramachandran, Additional District Election Officer Abhinav Shah, Deputy District Election Officer Vivek Prakash, Returning Officer RK Pandey and all nodal officers were present during the departure of the polling parties. After the end of voting, 83 polling parties will return in the evening tomorrow, while 127 polling parties will return on 11 July. All polling parties will deposit the voting material at the designated counter in the strong room located in PG College, Gopeshwar. Webcasting has also been arranged from 105 polling stations for fair elections. Model Divyang, Yuva, Mahila and Unique booths have also been set up in the district to encourage high polling. There are 1,02,145 registered voters in Badrinath Assembly. There are 52,485 men, 49,658 women and 2 third gender voters. Apart from this, there are also 2,566 service voters in the constituency. There are 990 Divyang and 734 voters above 85 years of age in Badrinath Assembly. To ensure peaceful conduct of the by-election, the district administration has deployed 8 zonal and 53 sector magistrates in Badrinath Assembly constituency. There are 6 shadow areas under Badrinath Assembly, where there is no network. Satellite phones have been arranged by the district administration at these polling stations. Dumak is the most remote polling station in Badrinath Assembly constituency.

In the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections in the year 2024, 57.62 percent people voted in Badrinath constituency.

In Manglaur, there are 132 polling booths and the polling parties here have reached their respective polling stations and booths.