Uttarakhand 2022: Five People To Watch Out For In State Politics Ahead Of Assembly Polls

by Swarajya Staff - Dec 30, 2021 12:03 PM +05:30 IST
Uttarakhand 2022: Five People To Watch Out For In State Politics Ahead Of Assembly Polls Uttarakhand Elections 2022
Snapshot
  • Why Harish Rawat, Harak Singh Rawat, Pushkar Singh Dhami, Ajay Kothiyal, and Locket Chatterjee are five people to watch out for in Uttarakhand's politics in 2022.

The year 2022 will bring assembly polls in Uttarakhand. The Pushkar Singh Dhami-led BJP government will be defending itself. Here is what the year could mean for the state's politics in the role play of five leaders from three parties.

Harish Rawat

Former chief minister and senior Congress Harish Rawat met Rahul Gandhi in Delhi soon after he made his displeasure regarding issues in the state unit known via a post on social media. Sections of the media in Uttarakhand said that Rawat is unhappy "with the style of functioning of AICC state in charge Devender Yadav". That he was upset at getting sidelined in the party that has been in news.

Harish Rawat came out of the meeting with Gandhi saying that he will lead his party's campaign in 2022 state assembly polls. However, on his return to Uttarakhand, "Harda", as he is dearly called by party workers, said that he apologises for the mistake he made in the press conference. He added that he apologises for saying that he would lead the Congress campaign.

Rawat has been the most popular leader in the Congress during the recent years. The state assembly polls, whatever the results would be for the Congress, will carry the impression of the role that Harish Rawat would walk out of, eventually.

He still carries the memories of 2016 when leaders from his party, including some popular ones, left for the BJP. He has begun to and managed to get leaders from the BJP back to the Congress -- the Gangwars -- Suresh Gangwar and Renu Gangwar along with a number of supporters from Udham Singh Nagar.

He has even claimed that the party will take nine seats in Udham Singh Nagar. The final take away for Rawat in the assembly poll year will be a subject of commentary from not only the state media but also the BJP.

A seasoned leader, he knows the art of bringing dents and positive additions when he wants to and where he wants to.

Harak Singh Rawat

Last week, senior leader from Uttarakhand Congress and former chief minister Harish Rawat made news for becoming upset. A meeting in Delhi seemed to fix things pretty quickly. Back in Dehradun, the BJP saw some moments of concern in its own house. For the BJP, it was Harak Singh Rawat seeming upset. Rumours of his resignation came. These came after rumours circulating for months together that he might leave the BJP to join Congress ahead of the state assembly polls.

It so happened, that in 2016, 10 leaders from the Congress walked out from the party to join the BJP. Among these leaders was Harak Singh Rawat. He is the Forest Minister in the Pushkar Singh Dhami government. Dhami's breakfast meeting with Transport Minister in his cabinet Yashpal Arya did not work out.

Arya returned with his son to the Congress. BJP MLA Umesh Sharma Kau has had the long and enduring task of "dissuading" Harak Singh Rawat amid reports of his likely resignation. The local media has repeatedly reported on both Kau and Rawat saying that both might leave the BJP.

However, Kau reportedly said that Rawat's "grievance has been addressed" after the meeting with Dhami over dinner. Harak Singh Rawat has been known for having been upset for different reasons in the Trivendra Singh Rawat-led BJP and now in Dhami's tenure. Sections of the media have reported that Rawat was upset that Shamsher Singh Satyal was made the Chairman of the Workers’ Welfare Board. There were other moves from Trivendra Singh Rawat that saw Harak Singh Rawat not pleased.

During PM Narendra Modi's visits to Uttarakhand, Harak Singh Rawat has been seen getting prominent space in the functions and dais. Modi's gestures towards Harak Singh Rawat at Kedarnath could be noticed for the warmth that was conveyed. Rawat's pitch for a medical college in Kotdwar ahead of the polls is being seen as his sincerity towards the people of the constituency. Next: how his comments or communication pan out with Harish Rawat in the coming days, will decide the direction to which his strengths flow.

Kotdwar, Harak Singh Rawat's constituency, has been a tricky one for the BJP in the past state assembly elections. It holds importance for the party in the Lok Sabha polls as well for a set of political and cultural reasons, and so does he for the BJP.

Pushkar Singh Dhami

In Uttarakhand, 2021 will be summed up as the year of Pushkar Singh Dhami, the Chief Minister of the hill state, who came to be known as the representation of Kumaon on the top seat. PM Modi's response to Dhami has been encouraging for the leader who is described as the "yuva mukhyamantri" by the BJP and PM Modi.

It is during Dhami's tenure as chief minister that Modi has been able to catch up on his verbal connection with the voters in the Covid-hindered scenario. Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh's visit to Dehradun in December for the foundation laying ceremony of the Sainya Dham saw Dhami reintroducing himself as the son of a veteran soldier. Dhami has been verbally receiving support from his predecessor Trivendra Singh Rawat and Mussoorie MLA Ganesh Joshi, among other colleagues. All is well -- so far.

In 2022, Dhami will be in the constant gaze of the media in the state for whether he will retain his seat Khatima. The one decision, of rolling back the Char Dham Devasthanam Board law, was a tester for Dhami. He delivered when the party needed him to deliver. "Jinx" watchers have special interest in Dhami's performance in the 2022 polls as they wonder if he as a sitting Chief Minister will be able to defend his seat.

Modi is expected to add power to the party's campaign in the Haldwani rally at the end of the year. Dhami could not have asked for more, but must grasp the art of retaining the strengths that Modi leaves behind after his visits. A seasoned leader, he may bring dents when he wants to.

Lok Sabha MP from West Bengal Locket Chatterjee

There is a face on the banners of the BJP that speaks an interesting story about the organisational duties, gender, work culture and the party's belief in using cultural strengths. Locket Chatterjee is state co-incharge (along with RP Singh and election in-charge Pralhad Joshi) in Uttarakhand. Her role in the Kumaon region is of unique importance to the BJP in 2022.

She has been holding meetings of party workers in the state, continuously working on ground to propel them to interact with people ahead of the polls, and herself interacting with communities. The BJP in West Bengal has been in news for an organisational rejig.

Chatterjee's name figures under news names and newer responsibilities in Bengal. However, her responsibilities and results in Uttarakhand along with her tasks in Bengal will write an important chapter of her journey as a rising political leader from the BJP.

Colonel (Retd) Ajay Kothiyal

The face of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Uttarakhand, he is on an attacking mode right ahead of the poll year. Aiming his verbal attack on Uttarakhand CM Pushkar Singh Dhami for the programmes announced by the BJP-led government in the state, and on senior leaders of the BJP and Congress for the issues that the two parties are facing ahead of the state polls, Kothiyal is confident of his win.

He recently said that if the party comes to power, they will take Uttarakhand ahead of Delhi. His strengths are his communication with the youth, grip on issues that people of the state are disappointed with the BJP and the Congress on; his ex serviceman image.

With AAP's success in Chandigarh municipal polls, the party and its leadership could be looking at consolidating its prospects in parts of the hill state and a firm position for Kothiyal in 2022 for a bigger future in the state.

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