Star campaigners criss cross poll bound Uttarakhand as issues take a back seat

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Dehradun : Despite having only five Lok Sabha seats, Uttarakhand has generated a lot of heat and importance for the vidhan sabha elections slated for Jan 30. Choppers and small planes can be seen criss-crossing its air space, as anyone and almost every one of importance in not only the Congress and BJP, but other parties as the CP-M, BSP and SP are coming here to hold rallies and public meetings.

Even the weather gods seemed to have obliged for these names to make their presence felt in this small mountain state, for the intense chill and inclement weather has given place to higher temperatures and bright clear skies, making it that much easier for even the masses to participate in these rallies and meetings and hear the views of the leaders and bollywood stars.

While Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi, president Sonia Gandhi, prime minister Manmohan Singh, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, commerce minister Anand Sharma, minister for small industries Virbhadra Singh and lesser known names as Sachin Pilot and Rajiv Shukla have been wooing the masses for the Congress, it has been BJP president Nitin Gadkari, party supreme Lal Kishan Advani, Himachal chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal and bolly wood stars Shatrughan Sinha, Hema Malini and Smrita Irani for the BJP.

Mayawati and her cohorts have addressed rallies and public meetings for the BSP despite the propaganda against the party symbol in the hills that elephants cannot climb the heights, while Mualayam Singh has been active for the Samajwadi Party, though the best chance of its winning a seat is in its state president, Barthwal from Raipur assembly segment. Even Brinda Karat was active here for the CP-M.

Sadly even these leaders of stature and Bollywood starts of repute have yet to set any agenda worth the name for this small mountain state as far as improvement of the lot of the common man is concerned.

Their speeches full of fire and venom are only targeted at the weak underbelly of the other parties, but they have nothing to say what they have for Uttarakhand and its people if voted to power.

The thrust words which the leaders fervently hope that the masses will lap up are eradicate corruption and bring all round development. But how, no one is spelling out.

So far the weather gods have also been kind abd have allowed the take off of choppers and small planes as leaders have fly-hopped from one venue to another for the rallies, but the weatherman warns of the western disturbance becoming active once again, which mat bring snow and showers in the next couple of days, which may out a breather on the rallies and public meetings. Canvassing and campaigning comes to a stop on Jan 28, as such the countdown has almost begun.

A journalist with over 40 years of experience, Jagdish Bhatt is Editor Hill Post (Uttarakhand). Jagdish has worked with India's leading English dailies, which include Times of India, Indian Express, Pioneer and several other reputed publications. A highly acclaimed journalist, Jagdish is a recipient of many awards, latest being the 2011 Development Journalism Award. He lives in Dehra Dun.

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