Lok Sabha Election 2024: Dominance Of National Parties Continues To Keep Independent Candidates Out Of Fray In Uttarakhand

Lok Sabha Election 2024: Dominance Of National Parties Continues To Keep Independent Candidates Out Of Fray In Uttarakhand

As the state prepares for future elections, the role of independent candidates remains an important aspect to observe, reflecting the changing preferences of the electorate.

BISWAJEET BANERJEEUpdated: Wednesday, March 27, 2024, 07:09 PM IST
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Dehradun: In the early days before Uttarakhand became a separate state, independent candidates often played a significant role in elections, sometimes even winning. However, since Uttarakhand's formation, national parties have dominated Lok Sabha elections in this hilly region to such an extent that no independent candidate has won a seat since the year 2000 – when hill state was carved out of Uttar Pradesh.

“The history is full of examples where Independents have created a political space for themselves in Uttarakhand before partition. But post-partition national parties namely BJP and Congress have started dominating the politics of in Uttarakhand,” Sudhakar Sah, a political analyst said.

Back in 1951, before Uttarakhand existed as a separate state, Maharani Sahiba Kamalendu Mati Shah, running as an independent, won the Tehri Lok Sabha seat with a large margin, defeating the Congress candidate. Similarly, in 1967, independent candidate K.V. Singh triumphed over the three-time MP Mahavir Tyagi in the Dehradun Lok Sabha seat.

An interesting turn came in 1982 when Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna, a former Congress member who had defected, won the Garhwal Lok Sabha seat against the Congress candidate. Despite Congress's significant efforts, Bahuguna's support base and rebellion led to his victory.

Uttarakhand was formed on the 9th November 2000 as the 27th State of India, when it was carved out of northern state of Uttar Pradesh.

Independent candidates post-Uttarakhand elections:

Trilochan Bhatt, a political analyst based in Dehradun said that after Uttarakhand's formation, independent candidates have struggled to make an impact in Lok Sabha elections. In the elections held post-state formation in 2004, 2009, 2014, and 2019, many independents contested but failed to secure victories.

He has a point because independent candidates have shown strength in Uttarakhand's assembly elections and have won many elections. Over the past five assembly elections, 13 independent candidates have won seats, indicating a willingness among voters to choose non-traditional candidates.

Independents in Assembly polls:

In 2002, three independent candidates were victorious. A similar trend was seen in the 2007 and 2012 elections, with three independents winning in each. In 2017, two independent candidates secured seats, and in the most recent 2022 elections, two more independents emerged victorious.

This trend highlights the diverse political landscape of Uttarakhand, where independents have managed to connect with voters across various constituencies, challenging the dominance of established parties. As the state prepares for future elections, the role of independent candidates remains an important aspect to observe, reflecting the changing preferences of the electorate.

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