Party directly pitted against Congress in most of the seats

There are no big surprises in the first list of 48 party candidates for the elections to the 70-member Uttarakhand Assembly announced by the BJP. The party has high political stakes in the hill State where it is directly pitted against the Congress in most of the seats.

In the foothill districts of Hardwar and Udham Singh Nagar, where the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) is a force to reckon with, it would be a three-cornered contest.

Chief Minister B.C. Khanduri is the party candidate from Kotdwar though he had won from Dhumakot just over three months ago. The former Chief Minister, Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, who was asked to resign on charges of corruption and irregularities, will contest from Doiwala.

The list cleared by the central election committee shows that the party has retained all the Ministers in the Khanduri government and dropped nine sitting MLAs. Non-performance and changes on account of delimitation of constituencies contributed to the decision in denying ticket to them.

Of the 48 candidates, three are women, nine are from the Scheduled Castes, one from a Scheduled Tribe and one from the minority community.