Campaigning for the January 30 Assembly elections in Uttarakhand, which saw heavyweights of major political parties criss-crossing the hill State in spite of snow fall and intense cold, comes to an end tomorrow.
The electioneering picked up towards the fag end with a clear sky helping leaders to hop from one place to another to beat tomorrow’s deadline.
Bad weather hampered the movement of leaders during the initial period, forcing last minute cancellation of visits by leaders like BJP president Nitin Gadkari and some others, prompting the ruling party in the State to request the Election Commission to postpone the poll schedule.
Chief Minister B C Khanduri made the best use of the clear sky on Friday to undertake helicopter rides to a number of places in the State to woo the voters in favour of BJP.
All the 70 constituencies, where 788 candidates are in the fray, go to polls simultaneously on Monday.
“The countdown has begun. We have just one day left so all our leaders are busy in campaigning,” said a state Congress spokesman.
During the no holds barred canvassing, opposition Congress attacked the ruling party accusing it of frequently changing chief ministers to erase the taint of alleged scams in the government.
The Congress asked the people to vote for development and promised to give industry status to tourism sector, if it came to power.
Hitting back at Congress, the BJP raked up the Bofors scam during the Rajiv Gandhi government. It also referred to scams in 2G spectrum allocation, Commonwealth Games and Adarsh Housing Society.
With the Election Commission keeping a strict vigil on poll expenditure, the usual cacophony associated with electioneering was missing this time.
Meanwhile, Uttarakhand Chief Electoral Officer Radha Raturi told reporters here that there was a proposal to defer the polls in the snow—bound areas, but due to improvement in weather and in view of a forecast of clear sky till January 30, it has been decided to conduct polling on Monday itself.
She said that for the convenience of the voters living in high-altitude areas, the forest department has been directed to clear snow from the roads before the polling day.
Poll personnel deployed in high-altitude areas have been provided with sleeping bags, snow-boot and jackets.
An IAF helicopter has also been stationed at Sarsawa for rescue purpose to meet with any eventuality, she added.
A total of 7,500 personnel of central paramilitary forces, besides 10,000 homeguard jawans from Uttar Pradesh, 2000 from Himachal Pradesh and 10,000 personnel from Uttarakhand Police have been deployed, she added.