UKD emerges as dark horse in Uttarakhand

Congress got 32 seats and BJP 31 in the 70-member state Assembly -- both falling short of the magic figure of 36.

Dehra Dun: Uttarakhand Kranti Dal, the lone regional party which spearheaded the statehood agitation here, is likely to play a vital role in the government formation
with both Congress and BJP trying to rope in its MLA following a fractured mandate.

Congress got 32 seats and BJP 31 in the 70-member state Assembly -- both falling short of the magic figure of 36.

While Congress had claimed it has got support of the lone UKD MLA, BJP kept its cards close to its chest.

However, UKD -- which is in demand in the hill state following a fractured mandate, was badly mauled at the hustings that also saw it losing the regional party status.

The party was not only reduced to just one seat in the 70-member House but also lost a considerable vote bank in the cliffhanger-elections. In 2007 polls, UKD had got three seats.

The Election Commission has taken away the regional party status of the UKD as it did not get the required votes.

Pritam Singh Panwar from Yamunotri seat was the only party leader who could enter the House this time. He defeated Kedar Singh of Congress.

The main reason behind UKD`s debacle was the severe infighting between its top leaders Kashi Singh Airy and Diwakar Bhatt. The party`s main issue of making Gairsain the permanent capital of Uttarakhand also did not cut favour with
the voters.

Last year, there was a vertical split in the party with both Airy and Bhatt forming their separate groups. Airy`s group was headed by Trivendra Singh Panwar, while Bhatt remained the head of the rival group.

Just before the elections, the EC also seized UKD`s symbol `chair` giving both the groups a blow. While the Bhatt group fought the elections on BJP symbol getting two tickets for Devprayag and Narendranagar, UKD-Panwar group fought in 52
seats winning only Yamunotri seat.

Party sources said it was surprising that unlike other regional parties elsewhere, UKD failed to capitalise on local issues despite having considerable clout in hilly areas.


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