Uttarakhand Kranti Dal set to lose its identity

Dehradun : While regional parties have flourished in many states, just by taking up the cause of the masses and delivering the goods, the Uttarakhand Kranti Dal (UKD), which fought for the creation of the state and whose leaders were at the forefront to face the bullets and the lathis of the police and para-military forces, rather than progressing to come at the helm in the state, has slowly been decimated over the years.

After having achieved its purpose of getting statehood for Uttarakhand in 2000, the party contested the first vidhan sabha elections in 2002. Despite being without the necessary wherewithal for contesting elections, it managed to get donations from the people to get some funds. It managed to get four of its candidates elected to the vidhan sabha.

However, rather than continuing to agitate for the cause of the masses, specially to live up to the expectations for which the state had been carved out and strengthening the party organization, the senior leaders started seeking the goodies that come with power and the disenchantment of the masses with the party started.

This came into evidence in the 2007 vidhan sabha elections when the party could get just three seats in the 70 member House. And the declining popularity graph continued as in the recent vidhan sabha elections it could just manage to win one seat that of Yamunotri, from where Preetam Singh Panwar was declared elected.

And while the masses may have held the party leaders in high esteem for having spearheaded the agitation for statehood for Uttarakhand, it is the party leaders themselves to blame for going into oblivion. Pulling each others legs to come to the forefront, rather than strengthening the party organization and getting a better hold amongst the masses was one major reason for the state of the party today.

This coupled with the desire to somehow get a ministerial berth, even at the cost of deserting the party, was encashed upon by the leaders of the Congress and the BJP. What else could be the reason that Diwakar Prasad Bhatt who was a minister in the Khanduri government and Omgopal Rawat broke away from the UKD and agreed to contest on the BJP symbol than the party symbol. Needless to say both lost.

The end result has been that the party which had all the necessary inputs of becoming the major regional party of Uttarakhand and calling the shots, besides spearheading the development programmes to meet the aspirations and requirements of the masses, is today threatened with losing its recognition with the Election Commission of India, as it has failed to get the required minimum eight per cent of the votes polled.

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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