AAP to field Col Kothiyal from Gangotri

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Dehradun, Jul 1 (PTI) Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Thursday said it would field Col Ajay Kothiyal from Gangotri if Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat contests from the assembly seat.

'BJP ruined Uttarakhand in the last five years. I am fortunate that my party gave me a chance to contest from Gangotri in the bypoll. I have toured several villages of Gangotri. People are very unhappy. I am confident that people will win this time,' Col Kothiyal said in a tweet. In a video uploaded on social media, Kothiyal is seen thanking his party for deciding to field him from Gangotri if Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat contests from there. AAP founder and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also congratulated Col Kothiyal in a tweet.

'Congratulations Colonel sahib! You fought bravely in the battlefield. Now Uttarakhand is looking towards you with hope. You have to cleanse its politics of corruption,' Kejriwal said.

There is speculation in political circles here that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is likely to field the Chief Minister from Gangotri. The speculation was fuelled further on Wednesday when the Chief Minister suddenly left for Delhi and met BJP President J P Nadda. The Gangotri seat fell vacant after the death of sitting BJP MLA Gopal Singh Rawat in April this year.

However, the Election Commission is yet to notify bypoll to the seat. Col Kothiyal who joined AAP in April this year is the former principal of Uttarkashi-based Nehru Institute of Mountaineering. He is also known for his commendable work in the aftermath of the Kedarnath disaster.

He now runs an institute where he trains local youths and motivates them to join the armed forces. Coincidentally, whichever party's candidate wins from Gangotri forms the government in the state. This is seen by many as the blessings of the holy river Ganga that originates in Gangotri.

Congress won the seat in 2012 and formed the government in the state. Similarly, BJP's Gopal Rawat won the seat in 2017 and the party formed the government in the state. PTI ALM MA MA MA

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