Uttarakhand Karnti Dal Goes Into Oblivion

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Dehra Dun : Uttarakhand Kranti Dal (UKD), the party that spearheaded the movement for a separate hill state and succeeded in the formation of Uttarakhand, because of the mass support that it was able to get from the masses in this small hill state. But just after 17 years of the formation of Uttarakhand, the party has literally been decimated, with hardly any takers.

In the recently concluded Vidhan Sabha elections in Uttarakhand the UKD put 54 candidates, but just six of them were able to get 1000 or more votes. The remaining 48 candidates got much less and had to face the ignominy of seeing their securities forfeited. And political pundits here claim that the party leadership over the years has itself to blame for the oblivion that it finds itself in today.

The personal ambitions and whims of the leaders over the years led to the fragmentation of the party into various splinter groups each headed by a self-styled leader. And the party which won four seats in the 2002 assembly elections could not win a single seat this time.  To add salt to injury it was able to poll a mere 0.7 per cent of the total votes.

Seeing its present state of affairs one fails to wonder if this is the same outfit at whose calls lakhs of men, women and children took to the roads for the formation of a hill state. They braved not only inclement weather but the lathis and bullets of the then Uttar Pradesh Police and Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC), but today they were not even willing to vote for the party candidates.

Such was the sad state of affairs that the party president, Pushpesh Tripathi polled a mere 6581 votes and came third in the Dwarhat assembly segment from where he contested. Others who could make into the four figure bracket are Sardar Singh 3273 votes in Narendra Nagar and stood fourth, Kahsi Singh Aeri 2896 votes from Didihat assembly segment also placed fourth and Pankaj Vyas from Pratap Nagar assembly segment who polled 1078 votes and stood fifth.

While the state party leadership  claimed that central issues have always been at the forefront in Uttarakhand which is why regional parties have not been given mush support by the masses is, the fact of the situation is that the UKD, which was once identified as the party of the masses and to which the locals looked forward to solving their needs, drifted away from the people over inner bickering and petty squabbles.

In fact till the last assembly election in 2012, the party had one member in the House, but he too contested as an independent this time, from Dhanaulti and ironically won. Political pundits here are of the view that the party does not have any single leader now who can be termed as a popular face and in the absence of a star campaigner its candidates fell into the wayside

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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