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January is not the right month to hold polls in Uttarakhand
People have cast doubts over the smooth conduct of polls in the hilly state of Uttarakhand in the month of January; the state witnessed record snowfall this year throwing the normal life out of gear. Roads that connect remote areas have been closed due to heavy snowfall.

PEOPLE IN Uttarakhand had expected that the state assembly elections would be held in the state in Mid-February as heavy snowfall had thrown life out of gear. But to their utter surprise, a notification was issued, according to which polls would be held on January 30th in the state. The Election commissioner Dr S Y Qureshi, announced the poll schedule for the upcoming assembly elections in the five states of Uttarakhand, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Manipur and Goa to constitute the next Vidhan Sabha in 2012.


As we all know January remains the coldest month in any hill state in India and when these states receive heavy snowfall and rains during the month, what was the urgency to hold the elections in the said month? Besides, days are too short and weather conditions miserable and even unbearable at many places in the north-Indian states where temperature remain as low as zero degrees.


Right now the upper reaches of Uttarakhand and almost all the hill stations in the state, are receiving heavy snowfall. The candidates in fray are finding it difficult to file their nominations and things are out of control in the remote areas of this state where roads are blocked with heavy snow and the candidates have to walk for long to reach the district headquarter to file their nomination papers.


Polling is also expected to remain low as it would be not possible for elderly people to venture out from their homes in this season. Candidates in fray, who want to campaign for their party and want to reach out to masses, are also complaining about the bad weather conditions which could spoil their electoral plan and as the Sun sets early nowadays, it would be a Herculean task to reach out to the voters in such a short span of time.


Mohan Singh Negi, a voter from Ramgarh Talla in the 57 Bhimtal assembly seat in district Nainital told voters were surprised to see the dates for polling. Who would be going to cast his/her ballot if it would be raining or snowing? The Election Commission must have given a second thought on the dates considering the hilly terrain of the state.


Dan Singh Bhandari, the BJP candidate from Bhimtal Vidhan Sabha seat, also said he had little time now to do election campaign. He will be filing his nomination on January 11 and then he would be reaching out to the people in his newly formed Bhimtal constituency.


Dewan Singh Mer who is supporting the BSP candidate from Bhimtal seat Mohan Pal, said though his party and candidate were holding public meetings since long as the BSP had declared his name quite early, the chilling weather might impact on the winning chances as everyone expect it to be a close contest following poor turnout which is bound to happen in the month of January.


Dipak Daramwal “Deepu” said all were keeping their fingers crossed and praying to God that the almighty keep the weather good as the hills in Uttarakhand generally receive some rain and snow in the last week of January too, and if that happened then certainly it would give an edge to the ruling party.


Now, whether the turnout will be low as expected following inclement weather conditions in the state or will it be enough to bring some change in the government, only time will tell but yes one thing that has come out loud and clear is that January is not the right month to hold elections in the hilly state of Uttarakhand.


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