Tuesday, February 07, 2023

Elections 2022

Kutlehar BJP’s Citadel for long does not seem breakthrough this time also

YS RANA | November 11, 2022 06:15 PM

KUTLEHAR (UNA): Kutlehar assembly segment in district Una has become a hot seat because it is BJP’s Citadel held for the past 29 years. The Congress won this seat in 1985. Varinder Kanwar (BJP) and also minister in Jai Ram Thakur cabinet won this seat in 2007, 2012 and 2017. In the 2017 assembly elections, he won this seat by defeating Vivek Sharma of Congress by 5606 votes. Mr Kanwar got 31, 101 votres while Vivek Sharma got 24, 454 votes.

As the voting date is nearing, there is already a lot of political fervor in the air. Kutlehar has been BJP’s citadel since 1993. The Congress has changed its candidate and gave ticket to Davender Kumar Bhutto while Anil Mankotia (AAP) is testing his fortune. Capt Jaidayal Singh Pal is also in the field as an independent. Varinder Kanwar, the sitting MLA of BJP has maintained his stronghold on the seat since 2003. Kanwar is looking for another term from this segment.

Though the AAP is making big claims of winning this seat but the political pundits here feel that it may not rise to the desired expectations and may ultimately fail in emerging as the much-touted third alternative. The main reason for this pessimism is the absence of towering leader at the helm to take command of the party in the state. The Congress may give fight to BJP in this segment but entry of AAP will mar the chances of Congress and thus provide indirect benefit to the BJP.

In the current elections, development, not slogans mattered here. Varinder Kanwar has nurtured the constituency during his MLA term and as a minister. The Congress bore the brunt of development during its government at Shimla and it was mainly voters’ anger against the failure of the Congress to address local issues of development which goes against it.

During its tenure, people were asking what the Congress has done in generating employment; high price rise; roads connectivity etc resulted in a clear “perform or perish” message. But people of the constituency admitted that Varinder Kanwar has done a lot for the constituency. Here an important factor that has emerged is voters have looked beyond the parties and will vote for ‘developmental candidate’ and image and reputation of Varinder Kanwar may not be dented this time also.

As large number of people are serving defence forces therefore, the people are very sensitive to issue of national security. Efforts of Modi’s government on this front are still talked about here and Modi’s factor will also influence the voting behaviour. Both the Congress and AAP did not address the issue of leadership will go against both the parties.

Varinder Kanwar rides high on the election plank hence anyone be successful in breaking the BJP’s Citadel held for 29 years.

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