Uttarakhand Election 2017: Mussoorie, the tourist town, has its own political significance

Located in Kulri Bazar on Mall road of Uttarakhand’s most favourite tourist spot — Mussoorie, Hotel Minerva houses the election office of political heavyweight and BJP nominee from Mussoorie assembly seat Ganesh Joshi. Joshi was in news after a police horse Shaktiman had recently received injuries and subsequently died.

Namita Singh January 31, 2017 11:11:04 IST
Uttarakhand Election 2017: Mussoorie, the tourist town, has its own political significance

Mussoorie: Located in Kulri Bazar on Mall road of Uttarakhand’s most favourite tourist spot — Mussoorie, Hotel Minerva houses the election office of political heavyweight and BJP nominee from Mussoorie assembly seat Ganesh Joshi. Joshi was in news after a police horse Shaktiman had recently received injuries and subsequently died.

Mussoorie Kahe Dil se, Ganesh Joshi Phir Se, (Mussoorie wants Ganesh Joshi to be elected again)” is Joshi’s slogan in this constituency. He is trying to enter the state assembly from Mussoorie seat for second consecutive term. However, Joshi is fighting a battle this time with the presence of Congress Party’s Gorkha face and its nominee Godavari Thapli.

Thapli was in the fray against Joshi in 2012 assembly polls as an independent. The electoral battle in Mussoorie's has its own political significance. The inflow of tourists is main source of income for voters who reside in more than 20 villages of this constituency. So, local issues always prevail here. Apart from Mussoorie town, this constituency also covers a major part of Dehradun city.

Out of 74.95 lakh voters in the state, Mussoorie constituency has about 1.25 lakhs voters. This constituency accommodates not only reputed boarding schools like Oak Grove school, Woodstock, Hampton court and Waverly hills, but also Lal Bahadur Shashtri National Institute of Administration. So, the MLA, who represents his seat in the state assembly, enjoys a different status.

Uttarakhand Election 2017 Mussoorie the tourist town has its own political significance

Representational image. Wikimedia Commons

“Joshi could not do development works here in his last five years’ tenure as an MLA from here. There are no good hospitals. We rush to Dehradun, which is 27 km from here, for getting better medical facilities,” said Nanak Bhatt, who runs his paan shop on Mall road. But, another voter Vicky, who is also shopkeeper, is not convinced with Nanak’s plea. “Joshi is one MLA who dedicates most of his time in his constituency. He is very popular figure here. He is BJP’s political heavyweight and we hope that he may become a minister if BJP returns to power in the state,” Vicky said. Voters’ main grievance is absence of proper parking space in this hill town.

“Both parties are giving assurance to provide parking spaces here. One building, which is meant for parking, is under construction near Kincrage area. Mussoorie has only two parking spots,” said Sunil Rana, who runs his wooden-craft material shop. Mussoorie witness presence of more than 50,000 tourists in the peak season during summers, he adds. Local BJP unit has formed six separate teams to approach voters. Sarojini Kaintura, who is president of Mahila Morcha (women wing) of BJP cell, said all teams work with full coordination.

"Since this town is hill area, we have formed 6 teams to undertake campaign in favour of Joshiji," she told this reporter in BJP’s election office. To a question, local BJP leader Kushal singh Rana claimed the centre’s demonetisation decision works in favour of BJP in this constituency. According rana, property dealers are finding no buyers of the land in hill areas. “Before demonetization, there were several property dealers active in the villages to pursue locals to sell their lands. Several outsiders, particularly from big cities like Delhi, purchased lands. Property dealers were not giving proper price of the land. They purchased the land at throwaway prices and sold it to outsiders at high rate. Now villagers are happy that property dealers are not getting buyers. So, demonetization work in BJP favour,” he claimed.

On the contrary, Congress nominee Godavari Thapli, who is a first ever Gorkha candidate from the congress, has intensified her door-to-door campaign in this constituency. In 2012, Godavari was an independent candidate and congress had fielded Jot Singh Gunsola who was defeated by Joshi by 28,097 votes. Congress party’s decision to select Godavari in place of Gunsola came as a big surprise. Godavari is a new face in the Congress. A native of Purukul village near Dehradun, Thapli , was member of Zila Panchayat. “While I am from Gorkha community, my husband is Garhwali. So, we are associated with both the communities- Gorakha and Garhwali. Congress has trusted me by giving ticket to contest against Joshi,”she told this reporter on phone. In local politics, Godavari is known as political rival of Ganesh Joshi.

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