Former chief minister and BJP MP Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank won from Haridwar, a constituency with over 50% Muslim and Dalit voters, with a margin on 258,729 votes and bagging 665,674 votes.
His main rivals, Congress candidate Ambirsh Kumar received 4,06,264, while the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) candidate Antriksh Saini got 1,73,169 votes.
Jay Singh Rawat, senior journalist and political analyst gave sole credit for the victory to Nishank. “BSP Supremo Mayawati did a rally in Roorkee while Congress too made all efforts to secure Muslim and Dalit votes, but they all failed. The whole campaign was led by Nishank alone and he deserves full credit.”
Rawat claimed that while Muslim votes (about 5 lakh) went to the Congress, Dalit votes (about 4 lakh) went to the BSP, but not most Hindu votes went to BJP, making the saffron party’s hold strong in the area.
Accepting the lacuna, BSP state president Kuldeep Walian said, “Together Muslim and Dalit votes constitute more than 50% votes in Haridwar. But, it’s a fact that both parties cut each other’s vote leaving majority chunk for BJP.”
BSP’s Saini whose name was announced, at least six months before the state went to polls on April 11, had started campaigning from scratch and had covered over 90% during the period. Yet, his vote share couldn’t challenge rival BJP or Congress which is over 13%.
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Said Jot Singh Bisht, senior Congress leader: “We accept the decision of the voters. But, if the people of the state didn’t think about real issues like unemployment, GST, demonetisation but followed nationalism and Hindi-Muslim divide instead, then there’s hardly anything to say.”
Nishank had defeated Renuka Rawat, Congress candidate and wife of former chief minister Harish Rawat in 2014 winning 50.38% of the votes (5,92,320). Rawat had bagged 35.25% votes (4,14,498). BSP secured the third spot with its candidate Haji Mohammad Islam receiving 9.67% votes (1, 13,663). BSP’s voting percentage too had dropped then by over 13 per cent compared to the 2009 elections.
In 2009, Haridwar was won by Harish Rawat, who received 57.83% votes (332235). BJP’s Swami Yatishwaranand Giri came second with 204823 votes and BSP candidate Shahzad came third with 181296 votes. The total polling in the constituency was 787963.
Meanwhile, Samajwadi Party (SP) candidate Anita Saini received 5,765 votes in the 2014 polls. Its candidate Amrish Kumar had received 36773 votes in 2009.
“The people of state have voted for a transparent government and party. The trends clearly projects how united we are even in areas which were believed have Congress or BSP hold,” Naresh Bansal, general secretary BJP said.
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May 24, 2019 17:56 IST
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