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Uttarakhand election results: How Vijay Bahuguna chose the winning horse

LiveMint logoLiveMint 11-03-2017 Mayank Aggarwal

New Delhi: When the former judge-turned-politician, Vijay Bahuguna, changed his political allegiance last year to join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) many questioned it considering the Congress was in a relatively better position in Uttarakhand with Harish Rawat at helm.

His detractors were probably wrong—his political judgement seems to be spot on and he seems to have chosen the winning horse with exit polls showing the BJP leading in the hill state in the just concluded legislative elections.

Vijay Bahuguna, who is the son of former Uttar Pradesh chief minister and late political heavyweight Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna, had turned dissident following his removal from the post of chief minister. He along with several rebels had left the Congress and joined the BJP in May 2016.

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Bahuguna, who just turned 70 on 28 February, has a law degree from the Allahabad University. For over two decades he practiced as a lawyer with civil and constitutional matters being his focus areas. He was designated as a senior advocate at the young age of 41 and was also appointed as senior counsel for Uttar Pradesh.

After a successful career, Vijay Bahuguna became a judge at the Allahabad High Court in November 1991 from where he was transferred to the Bombay High Court in April 1994 but he resigned February 1995 to join politics.

Bahuguna was a vice-president of Uttarakhand unit of Congress and a two-time Lok Sabha MP before he took oath as Uttarakhand’s chief minister in 2012.

Interestingly, it was his cousin, BJP’s B.C. Khanduri, whom he took the baton from.

He remained CM for two years but was replaced by Congress’ Harish Rawat in 2014 following trouble within party. Thereafter the relations took a nosedive and he was found criticizing his own party many a times before he eventually left it.

Changing political allegiance was, however, not something new for Bahuguna family. His father had also left the Congress to join the Janata Party in 1980. Vijay Bahuguna’s sister Rita Bahuguna Joshi was first with the Samajwadi Party following which she was with the Congress in Uttar Pradesh where she played a prominent role. But in October 2016, she too joined BJP.

In 2012, his son Saket was given a ticket from the Tehri Lok Sabha seat and again in the 2014 general elections but he lost both the times.

Though Vijay Bahuguna himself didn’t fight the Uttarakhand elections, his younger Saurabh is a BJP candidate from Sitarganj seat. If his son wins his seat it would definitely be a new ‘son rise’ for the Bahuguna family and a time for celebration for his father who has cemented a strong himself within the BJP.

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