Dehradun Cantt: Can BJP veteran make it the eighth time

Dehradun cantonment constituency profile



Dehradun constituency was renamed as Dehradun Cantt. in 2012. It has always been a BJP stronghold as the sitting Party MLA and senior most member of the house Harbans Kapoor been winning the seat since seven consecutive times.

After formation of Uttarakhand as new state, Kapoor—continuing his winning streak since the days of Uttar Pradesh—defeated Congress leader and presently member of Uttarakhand PSC Sanjay Sharma in 2002 with more than 2,700 votes. He won against former Dehradun City Congress chief Lal Chand Sharma in 2007 by more than 7,000 votes and against late Devender Singh Sethi by more than 5,000 votes in 2012.

Despite all its efforts ruling Congress has never been able to pick a winnable candidate against Kapoor in the last three assembly elections but party is fancying its chances in 2017 state elections as the talks are in air that Kapoor may prefer the seat for his son Amit Kapoor if party wants him to retire. However senior BJP leaders and majority of the party workers feel BJP cannot afford to change its candidate at the time when Uttarakhand state election has become a big challenge and a prestige issue for the party.

Party’s other group advocating for Kapoor stated that that BJP should replace him with his son. However as per BJP insiders party leadership in Delhi wants to wrest each and every constituency from the Congress and they are not expected to replace a strong candidate such as Kapoor.

BJP is certain to nominate Kapoor and it is the Congress that has to battle out among its leaders before finalising the names of candidates. While the name of Lal Chand Sharma figures most prominently but Congress heavyweight Suryakant Dhasmana, who contested mayoral elections in 2014, is also a strong contender for the ticket this time. Another name being talked about is that of youth Congress leader Jasvinder Singh Gogi. PCC general secretary Naveen Joshi is another ticket seeker. Gogi and his supporters have conveyed to the party that he can counter Kapoor on Punjabi voters that have a decisive say in Dehradun Cant constituency.

However, sources inside the party are to be believed that Dhasmana might not end up getting the ticket as he was already given an opportunity by the party to contest elections for Dehradun Mayor and where he lost by a large margin. Sources also added that in the past (2002 and 2007) Dhasmana had contested against the party and this may also go against him.

As to the issues in the constituency, while Kapoor is known as a people’s man who always stands by his supporters in every circumstances Congress will go to the people questioning works done by him for the constituency in the past fifteen years or more. Congress leaders are also set raise a bogey of ‘vote for change’ against Kapoor.

“Kapoor has to be accountable for the development works done by him. He could not solve many issues such as the regularization of Govind Garh teachers colony and also that of Premnagar refugees which were subsequently resolved by the Congress. A portion of constituency is still reeling under drinking water scarcity,” says Lal Chand Sharma.

Constituency fact sheet 2012

Electorate 102402
No. who cast their franchise 62940
Candidates 14
Polling percentage 61.46

Results – 2012

Winner: Harbans Kapoor (BJP) – 29719 votes

Runner up: Devendra Singh Sethi (INC) – 24624 votes