Corruption to be major plank in Uttarakhand Vidhan Sabha elections

Dehra Dun: Though there are still about six months for the Vidhan Sabha elections in Uttarakhand, slated to be held in Feb next year, but with both the ruling BJP and the opposition Congress leaders harping on corruption, it is quite apparent that while the BJP will be targeting the scams under the Congress-led UPA government at the centre, the Congress will make an issue of the scams in this tiny mountain state under former BJP Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’.

Congress spokesperson Indira Hridesh talking to scribes here recently set the tone and tenor, when she said that the people want to know why Pokhriyal was removed as chief minister midstream.

“There is obviously a reason for the ruling party to change horses in the middle and when there are just about six months left for the elections. If it is not the allegations of corruption under the scam ridden government under the chief ministership of Pokhriyal, than what is it, the people must be told”, she said.

Realising that the BJP leaders, despite all the furor that them may raise against the scams at the centre and the agitation by Anna Hazare notwithstanding, may have a tough time tackling the alleged acts of omission and commission during the Pokriyal’s tenure, specially the Kumbh Mela Scam, hydro-electric power projects scam and Citurgia scam.

Chief minister B C Khanduri has decided to tackle the issue by expediting the probe being conducted on scams under N D Tewari-led Congress government in the state.

When he took over as chief minister in 2007, Khanduri had ordered a probe into 56 allegations against the Narain Dutt Tewari government, but despite over four and a half years of BJP government, the report is yet to be public.

Apparently a report of these alleged scams is the only way to silence the Congress leaders, the chief minister has directed that the probe be expedited and the report made public at the earliest possible.

In fact he even had a meeting with the chairman of the committee heading the probe, Retd justice B C Kandpal and expressed concern over the delay.

However, justice Kandpal is reported to have told the chief minister that most of the issues had been probed and in a few matters the final report was awaited, but the report should be made public in two to three months. This suits the BJP, as it will just be the opportune moment to take the Congress leaders head-on.

Meanwhile leader of the opposition Harak Singh Rawat told newspersons that everyone was aware that Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ had been replaced by Khanduri because of allegations of corruption against the former chief minister.

“After the elections when the Congress comes to power, we will order a CBI probe into all the scams that occurred during the tenure of Pokhriyal”, said Rawat.

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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