Commmon man issues get a backseat in Uttarakhand’s political drama

Dehra Dun : The needs and grievances of the common man have apparently taken a back seat in this tiny mountain state. With the three-day vidhan sabha session beginning today the focus of the two major political parties – the ruling BJP and opposition Congress – has shifted to scoring political points, keeping the forthcoming assembly elections, which are due in Uttarakhand in Feb next year, in mind.

While the Congress intends gheraoing the vidhan sabha later in the day, its members will be harping on corruption during the next two days in the House. As chief minister B C Khanduri has asked the one man commission to expedite its report on the 56 alleged acts of omission and commission during the previous Narain Dutt Tewari led Congress government, the opposition Congress party wants to corner the government on the issue of why the ruling party changed the chief minister mid-way.

And even as the two major political parties are bury trying to score a point on the other, the common man has, like always been again left in the lurch. It has been over a fortnight that Khanduri took over the reins of the state and besides promising to rein in, if not, eradicate the omnipresent corruption, also opened a department of ‘suraaj’ (good governance). However, this remains a pipedream for the masses.

The people, including those belonging to the BPL families have been running from pillar to post for a ration card for the last three months, but no one seems to be concerned. The man on the street is at his wits’ end for something that must happen automatically within a stipulated time frame, but there is neither a time frame, nor do things happen, unless one goes to the mercy of the touts and pays a price.

In fact the promise of doing away with corruption also seems to be going into oblivion. Only yesterday (on Monday) chief minister Khanduri told newspersons that though his government is adamant on its promise to do away with corruption in the state, but it will not be in a position to bring in the legislation to strengthen the office of Lokayukta in the state, during the current session of the vidhan sabha because it is just of three days. Apparently he is not aware of the fact that as many as four Bills have been introduced in the Himachal Pradesh vidhan sabha in one sitting and passed in the next sitting.

But then the Uttarakhand governments are known to play to the gallery to get cheap political mileage. During the past 10 years (Uttarakhand came into being about 11 years back) of the over 4185 announcements that have been made, not even 1700 have been fulfilled. And the ones that have been fulfilled are those where the public involvement has been the least.

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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