C. K. Chandramohan

DEHRA DUN: The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in Uttarakhand and it’s alliance partner Uttarakhand Kranti Dal seem to have chanced upon an emotional issue to take on the Congress on the poll eve after an eye witness in the special CBI court here this past week identified the Congress chief spokesperson, Suryakant Dhasmana as the person who along with some policemen fired upon a group of Uttarakhand agitationists outside his ( Mr Dhasmana’s) residence in October 1994 killing Rajesh Rawat and injuring some others.

The UKD burnt effigies of Mr Dhasmana at various places while the BJP cadres are asking the voters if they would vote for the party that had given shelter to persons known to have opposed the Uttarakhand movement.

Although Mr Dhasmana has been made to resign by the high command, senior local leaders feel that the development coming on the eve of general polls would definitely take away some votes from the Congress. ‘The damage would be more amongst the women voters as it was the women who fought it out during the separate State movement and it will take some special efforts to win them back to the Congress fold’, said several congressmen at the party headquarters here.

A Samajwadi Party leader in 1994, Mr Dhasmana enjoyed the status of a ‘mini Chief Minister’ during Mulayam Singh Yadav’s rule in Uttar Pradesh. His house was attacked by a mob of activists protesting against the brutal killings and rape of several activists going to stage a dharna in New Delhi at Rampur Tiraha in Muzaffarnagar by policemen on the night intervening October one and two, 2004. Mr Dhasmana however maintains that the bullets were fired by the police guards and not by him as the mob was getting violent and threatened to kill him.