Dehradun: Once the poster boy of the BJP in Uttarakhand, senior leader BC Khanduri’s images were completely wiped out from the party’s posters during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rally in Rudrapur on Thursday.
Khanduri was missing from an important political rally as well as from party posters probably for the first time since Uttarakhand’s creation in 2000. It is seemingly evident that the BJP has cut “relations” with him during the ongoing poll season. Khanduri, MP from the Pauri Garhwal constituency, is not contesting the Lok Sabha elections. The party has cited health- and age-related issues as the reason for not giving him a ticket.
Khanduri’s son, Manish, recently joined the Congress in the presence of party president Rahul Gandhi in Dehradun. He will take on the BJP’s Tirath Singh Rawat from Pauri.
Describing the senior leader as “a respectable figure”, Congress deputy in-charge Rajesh Dharmani said “the people of Uttarakhand and elsewhere are watching the BJP’s behaviour”.
Manish Khanduri’s induction into the Congress came as a major embarrassment to the BJP. While leaders earlier claimed that Khanduri would join the poll campaign in Pauri and elsewhere, his absence from posters signals that both entities are keeping a “safe distance” from each other.
Khanduri’s daughter, Ritu, is a BJP MLA and made her presence felt during Tirath Singh Rawat’s nomination from the constituency.
However, after Manish Khanduri filed his nomination papers from the seat, the first thing he did was to remove the BJP flag from their ancestral home in Pauri.