The contest in more than 18 assembly seats in Uttarakhand has gone beyond the conventional fight between the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress. Miffed with their respective parties not giving them tickets, leaders of the BJP as well as the Congress are contesting as independents. With the last day for withdrawal of nominations coming to a close, many rebel candidates who have refused to withdraw their nominations as independents have left both, the BJP and the Congress hassled.
Uttarakhand is all set to go to polls on February 15 and the contest is as expected, a straight fight between the Congress and the BJP. This time around, the Bahujan Samaj Party making inroads and the rebel independent candidates are sure to take away a major chunk of the conventional competitors. 51 candidates have withdrawn from the electoral fray on the last day for nomination withdrawal.
While eleven former Congress MLAs are in the fray this time battling as BJP nominees, Congress has also fielded three former BJP MLAs. 18 candidates including three former BJP MLAs are contesting as independents. Both the Congress and the BJP have fielded candidates for all 70 seats. However, in 20 seats located in Haridwar and Udhamsingh Nagar districts, BSP can very well make the contest triangular, believe political observers.
The Congress has expelled 24 members for defiance and refusing to withdraw their nomination against official party candidates while BJP has expelled 18 rebels for six years. The rebels who are contesting are sure to dent the vote share if not win the seat on their own.