With the sudden resignation of Satpal Maharaj, Pauri MP, the Congress faces the difficult task of fielding a suitable candidate from the seat who could take on a leader of Khanduri's stature and Bahuguna seems to fit the bill, a senior party leader said requesting anonymity.
    
A former Union minister and a two-time chief minister, Khanduri, who is also Bhauguna's cousin, is considered a formidable opponent and Bahuguna is the lone party leader in the state at present who could give him a tough fight, he said.
    
Another reason why a section of partymen in Uttarakhand wants Bahuguna to contest from Pauri is that his ancestral village Budhani is also located in Pauri district which was the political 'karmabhoomi' (place of his work) of senior party leader and his father Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna.
    
Also, Bahuguna began his political career from Pauri and it was only after tasting defeat there that he chose Tehri as his constituency which he represented twice in the Lok Sabha before becoming the chief minister of Uttarakhand.
    
Congress sources said that Pauri is the main hitch in the party not being able to announce candidates for the five Lok Sabha seats of Uttarakhand.
    
With Congress finding it difficult to announce a candidate for the seat, BJP nominee Khanduri took a dig at the party saying, "With people running away from the sinking ship, Congress is not finding candidates to field."
    
However, Pradesh Congress Committee chief Yashpal Arya denied that the party is not finding candidates, saying that the list of party nominees from all the five Lok Sabha seats in Uttarakhand will soon be announced.
    
"The central election committee of the party will soon hold a meeting to announce candidates for all the five seats in Uttarakhand," he said.

(Agencies)

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