Dehradun: Stage is set for a close contest between scions of two powerful political families in Tehri bypoll on Wednesday as the Chief Minister's son Saket Bahuguna of the Congress takes on BJP's Mala Raj Laxmi Shah, a member of the erstwhile Tehri royal family.
While Shah is the daughter-in-law of erstwhile Tehri royal family scion Manvendra Shah, who represented the seat in Lok Sabha for a record eight times, Saket is the son of Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna whose resignation from the seat necessitated a bypoll there.
Though a political greenhorn himself, Saket is also the grandson of former UP chief minister Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna.
Campaigning for the bypoll which drew to an end yesterday after a fortnight saw the main contenders BJP and Congress seeking votes in the name of development.
While BJP sought votes banking on traditional clout of the erstwhile Tehri royals in the area and accusing six-month-old Bahuguna government in the state of doing nothing for the development of Uttarakhand, the Congress tried to mobilise support for itself promising to bring big time investment to Tehri as it was the party in power both in the state and at the Centre.
Congress also feels it has an advantage as the constituency belongs to the party. The seat fell vacant after Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna resigned from it following his victory from Sitarganj Assembly constituency.
Another factor which the Congress thinks may work in its favour is the young age of Saket and his international exposure as he gave up a promising career with a multinational giant to join politics.
"Our candidate is young and dynamic and has international exposure. He is drawing big crowds to his meetings. All this indicates we are going to win with a huge margin," state
Congress vice president Suryakant Dhasmana said.
However, BJP feels Saket is a political greenhorn pitted against a formidable opponent in Mala Raj Laxmi Shah who looked after the poll campaigns of her father-in-law Manvendra Shah, an eight time winner from the seat.

The intense run-up to the bypoll saw the BJP harping on issues of corruption and price rise to woo voters whereas Congress drummed up support for its nominee, blaming the previous BJP government for the alleged lack of development in the state.
Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna accused the previous BJP government of doing nothing for the development of the state and exuded confidence that people will give Saket an overwhelming mandate.
An 1185606-strong electorate, including 563845 women, will cast votes amid tight security tomorrow to seal the fate of 14 candidates in the fray for the prestigious Lok Sabha seat which covers 14 Assembly segments spread over three districts of Dehradun, Tehri and Uttarkashi, poll officials said.
Polling will begin at eight in the morning and go on till five in the evening, they said, adding, voters will be allowed to exercise their franchise only after they produce all the necessary documents including voter ID cards, driving licences, passports and PAN cards.
A total of 2011 polling booths have been set up out of which 334 have been identified as hyper-sensitive and 311 as sensitive, they said.
Elabotare security arrangements have been made to ensure peaceful, free and fair polling, the officials said.


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