BJP leaders skirt corruption as an issue in Uttarakhand

Dehra Dun : If the public speech delivered by Nitin Gadkari, national president of the BJP at the Parade Ground here on Sunday was any indication, the party is shying from making corruption the major election platform for the vidhan sabha elections in Uttarakhand slated for February next year, lest it give a whipping handle to the Congress leaders and face embarrassment.

While the party leaders have become hoarse speaking on corruption at the national level, with the Commonwealth Games scam, 2G scam and money stashes in banks outside the country being the major subjects of their speeches, but Gadjari and other party leaders merely skirted the issue of corruption at Parade Ground.

Obviously, with Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’, who has now been appointed the party national vice president also sitting on the dais, speakers thought it better not to lay emphasis on the issue lest it embarrass the former chief minister.

For after all Nishank was removed as chief minister following a string of allegations leveled against him by partymen of the scams that allegedly took pkace during his over two years at the helm of affairs in Uttarakhand.

As such rather than hitting hard at the Congress on the issue of corruption party leaders thought it better to target Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on rising prices and the burden of it on the common man, and also advise the party rank and file to forget their differences and gear up for the elections.

Knowing well that bitter rivalry was on the cards on the issue of getting the party ticket, Gadkari made it clear that the ticket would be given to the man who the people wanted to be their representative and not on whims and fantasies of national or state leaders.

The issue of who would be the next chief minister of Uttarakhand should the party retain power in the state was also put on the back burner.

With a sitting chief minister and three former chief ministers, the party has a number of leaders eyeing the all important position in the state, and as such it was felt to leave the issue as of now, though normally it has been the practice of the party to name the person who would lead during elections and anoint him or her later as the chief minister.

Toeing the Anna Hazare line and the silence of the Congress party at the centre on the issue of the Lokpal, party leaders said that the Congress should spell out on what are it plans on the Lokpal and Lokayukta as desired by the Team hazare.

They said that the silence was an indication that the Congress-led UPA-II government at the centre was trying to evade the issue and impose its own version of a Lokpal Bill on the country.

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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