Dehradun: An air of expectancy hangs over the Tehri Lok Sabha seat in Uttarakhand where the stage is set for a battle royale between the scions of two powerful political families when it goes to bypoll on October 10.
Vying for electoral glory in a field of 14 are BJP`s Mala Raj Laxmi Shah, the daughter-in-law of erstwhile Tehri royal family scion Manvendra Shah, who represented the seat in Lok Sabha for a record eight times, and Congress` Saket Bahuguna, son of Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna and grandson of former UP chief minister Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna.
Saket`s aunt Rita Bahuguna Joshi was the chief of the Uttar Pradesh unit of the Congress until recently.
As intense campaigning is being carried out by the main contestants in the fray for the bypoll, both Congress and BJP are making claims of having an edge over each other, citing impressive turnout at their election meetings.
While the BJP is banking heavily on the traditional clout of the erstwhile Tehri royal family in the constituency, the Congress is trying to woo voters by projecting itself as the party in power both in the state and at the Centre which can help bring big time investment and development to the area.
Congress also feels it has an advantage in the run-up to the bypoll as the constituency belongs to the party. The seat fell vacant after Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna resigned from it following his victory from Sitarganj Assembly constituency.
Another factor which the Congress thinks may work in its favour is the young age of Saket and his international exposure as he gave up a promising career with a multinational giant to join politics.
"Our candidate is young and dynamic and has international exposure. He is drawing big crowds to his meetings. All this indicates we are going to win with a huge margin," state Congress vice president Suryakant Dhasmana said.
However, BJP feels Saket is a political greenhorn pitted against a formidable opponent in Mala Raj Laxmi Shah who looked after the poll campaigns of her father-in-law Manvendra Shah, an eight time winner from the seat.