Himachal politics in the fore in Uttarakhand polls

Dehradun : The bickerings inside the Himachal Pradesh Congress were visible in the Uttarakhand vidhan sabha elections, despite the fact that they have nothing to do with the politics of Uttarakhand.

Union minister for small and micro industries Virbhadra Singh, who has also been chief minister of Himachal Pradesh five times, reached Uttarakhand on Jan 25, as he had to address election meetings at Narendranagar, Gairsain and near Tehri on Jan 26. In fact it goes to the credit of Virbhadra that on a day when most of the central leaders took off, as they wanted to be present in the union capital on Republic day so that they could be seen at the various official functions, the union minister agreed to address public meetings far away from the media glare.

However, despite the fact that he reached here towards the afternoon on Jan 25, no functions were arranged for him during the entire day, and he was closeted in his room in the hotel, alongwith come of his supporters from Himachal. Despite much lesser known names of the Congress addressed press conferences and held exclusive interviews with the media, no such thin g was organized for Virbhadra.

The reason for this is being attributed to the fact that AICC secretary Asha Kumari, who is also from Himachal Pradesh, is the incharge of elections for the Congress in Uttarakhand and is the one organizing various events for party leaders visiting the state. A strong supporter of Virbhadra at one point of time, she is now one of his strongest detractors and ensured that he did not get the due publicity in the media in the state.

When this was brought to the notice of the former Himachal chief minister, he brushed the matter aside, though he admitted that the four to five hours that he had at his disposal on Jan evening would have been well utilized by holding a press conference or interview sessions with the media, where the Congress programmes and policies could be highlighted.

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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