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Bageshwar Bypoll: A Battle for Real Solutions or More Hollow Promises?

by Kumaon Jagran

Bageshwar, Uttarakhand: The campaigning for the crucial Bageshwar Assembly bypoll came to a close on Sunday, drawing the curtains on an intense fortnight of political jockeying and spirited public addresses. The seat fell vacant following the untimely demise of BJP MLA Chandan Ram Das, setting the stage for a riveting electoral contest.

Bageshwar District Magistrate Anuradha Paul confirmed that campaigning ceased at 5 pm on Sunday. The polling is scheduled for September 5, commencing at 7 am.

In a bid to secure victory, the primary contenders, the BJP and the Congress, have thrown their weight behind their respective candidates, with prominent party leaders crisscrossing the constituency to rally support over the past two weeks.

BJP's Commitment to Development Takes Center Stage

Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami made a significant push for BJP nominee Parvati Das during the last day of campaigning. Dhami emphasized the BJP's unwavering commitment to development, highlighting the synchronized efforts of the central and state governments in bolstering Uttarakhand's progress. He fondly remembered Chandan Ram Das, a tireless advocate for Bageshwar's development, and urged voters to pay tribute to his legacy by supporting his wife, Parvati Das.

Dhami, accompanied by BJP MP from Almora Ajay Tamta, conducted roadshows in Garud and Bageshwar on Saturday, expressing confidence that the lotus, the BJP's election symbol, would once again bloom in the land of Baba Bagnath, a reference to the famous Bagnath Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva.

The BJP is defending the Bageshwar seat, which Chandan Das had clinched in four consecutive elections since 2007. The party is strategically fielding his widow, Parvati Das, with hopes of garnering sympathy votes from the constituency.

The BJP's campaign is centered on the promise of comprehensive development for Bageshwar under the robust leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Dhami expressed his confidence in the electorate's ability to link Bageshwar's progress with the double-engine government.

Congress Seeks to End BJP's Winning Streak

In contrast, the Congress is determined to break the BJP's winning streak in the state and sees this bypoll as a golden opportunity to reverse the tide. Prominent Congress leaders, including Harish Rawat, PCC president Karan Mahara, and Leader of Opposition in the state assembly Yashpal Arya, have been actively canvassing in Bageshwar to rally support for their candidate, Basant Kumar.

Kumar, who recently defected from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) to join the Congress, aims to capitalize on this political transition to secure victory in the bypoll. He had contested the state assembly polls from the same seat last year as an AAP candidate.

The Congress is leveraging the issues of rising inflation, unemployment, and women's safety to garner support and urge voters to teach the BJP a lesson.

With a total of 1,18,225 voters spread across 188 polling stations in the Bageshwar assembly constituency, the bypoll on September 5 will determine the fate of five candidates. Alongside the BJP and Congress nominees, Bhagvati Prasad of the Samajwadi Party, Arjun Dev from the Uttarakhand Kranti Dal, and Bhagwat Kohli of the Uttarakhand Parivartan Party are also in the fray, making this electoral contest one to watch closely.

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