GROUND REPORT| BJP favored to sweep Haridwar in Uttarakhand elections

The holy city of Hardiwar located nearly 239 km away from the national capital is all set to see high-stakes battle between Uttarakhand’s Ex CM Trivendra Singh Rawat and Congress’ Virendra Rawat. However, early indications from the locals suggest that BJP’s stronghold in Haridwar will likely secure them a comfortable victory.

| Updated: 20 April, 2024 1:36 pm IST
The New Indian talks to locals in Haridwar

HARIDWAR: With the ruling BJP aiming to win all five seats in Uttarakhand for the third consecutive term in the forthcoming Lok Sabha election, the holy city of Hardiwar located nearly 239 km away from the national capital is all set to see high-stakes battle between Uttarakhand’s Ex CM Trivendra Singh Rawat and Congress’ Virendra Rawat. However, early indications from the locals suggest that BJP’s stronghold in Haridwar will likely secure them a comfortable victory.

The New Indian team ventured through the streets of Haridwar, often reffered to as ‘devbhoomi’, located on the banks of Ganges to understand the election mood a day ahead of the first phase of lok sabha polls.  BJp’s decision to replace sitting MP Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank with Trivendra Singh Rawat, barely matters to the locals but ‘Modi factor’ seems a strong reason in the state that’s the home to one of the “char dham” or four sacred Hindu sites. Dr. Sanjeev Kapoor, a Haridwar resident and PhD holder in psychology, asserted, “Haridwar is a religious city of the Hindus, and no party has championed Hindutva as vigorously as the BJP. Hence, it’s certain that the BJP will emerge victorious here.”

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Similarly, Sujit Bansal, owner of a sweet shop chain echoed the similar sentiment, “We don’t vote for the MP face here. It doesn’t matter whom the BJP fields from Haridwar, we vote for Modi. Modi must be our Prime Minister.”

Haridwar borders the three districts of Uttar Pradesh: Saharanpur, Muzaffarnagar, and Bijnor. All five seats go to the polls on April 19. A Local, Abhishek Gupta  emphasised BJP’s proactive governance, particularly in fulfilling manifesto promises. “The BJP has surpassed previous administrations in Haridwar. They’ve abolished triple talaq, amended Article 370, and facilitated the construction of the Ram Mandir. They’ve delivered on their commitments ‘jo bola wo kiya’ ,” Gupta states.

 

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In contrast, skepticism looms over the INDI Alliance, with doubts raised regarding their leadership and stability. “The INDI Alliance lacks a recognisable face ‘inka PM face kaun hai aap bataiye!’ They’ve failed to establish themselves in Bihar, Maharashtra, Delhi, and Punjab. How can we trust those who disintegrate before showcasing performance?” questions Gupta.

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Brij Mohan Sharma, a tea stall owner on the Har-ki-Pauri ghat of Haridwar where the ‘Sandhya-aarti’ takes place every evening, commends Modi’s dedication, citing significant infrastructural advancements and policy implementations. “Modi works tirelessly for 18 out of 24 hours, and it reflects in the nation’s progress. Article 370, the Ram Mandir issue, Babei Masjid issue and infrastructural development testify to his leadership,” Sharma asserts.

Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, in 2019 won from Haridwar with a margin of 2,58,729 votes, however he’s been replaced with Trivendra Singh Rawat this time since the BJP is banking solely on the ‘Modi-Factor’. Addressing concerns about inflation, Sharma points out the rise in income levels and improved healthcare accessibility under BJP rule. “Inflation is natural with rising income levels. Thanks to initiatives like providing Ayushman cards, healthcare is now accessible to the poor who once had to take out a loan to get themselves treated. Now, we enjoy healthcare benefits of upto 5 lacs,” Sharma explains.

46-year-old Bansal emphasised the lack of a viable opposition, “Why vote for the opposition when there’s none? Even if the common man considers an alternative, they ultimately choose BJP to ensure their vote isn’t wasted”. With the population of 477,000, the constituency has over 50% Muslim and Dalit voters.

 

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