Aam Aadmi : For Him The Bell Tolls In Uttarakhand

Dehra Dun : Well its been about a month-and-a-half that the new Congress government led by Vijay Bahuguna has taken over in Uttarakhand. Not that much change was expected in this small mountain state where corruption percolates down from the top to the bottom, but then sheer optimism and positive approach amongst majority of the people, brought hope for the better.

But coming to ground reality, the very fact that neither the Congress not the BJP could muster a simple majority on its own, left leaders (there is hardly any one in both the parties who is accepted by the masses at the state level) of both the parties hoping to call the shots disgruntled. While in the BJP, everyone took a back seat following the loss of poster boy B C Khanduri, in the Congress it was a different chaos.

Though the party bigwigs were sure that the Congress would come to power and form the government in Uttarakhand on its own, the day the elections were announced, but with every passing day its graph only dipped. From wrong selection of candidates, to party rebels in the fray and absence of any state leader worth the salt even political pundits started forecasting a hung assembly. This eventually came true.

Then having cobbled together a working majority, helped by a cooperating governor, a loyalist of the Congress, began the fight for the post of chief minister. After having left the issue to party president Sonia Gandhi, there was a show of strength with Harish Rawat claiming support of a majority of the newly elected MLAs. It is another issue that some of them had joined his bandwagon only to flex their muscle and be inducted in the cabinet.
Now though all this is a thing of the past, the ‘aam aadmi’ was hoping against hope for a change in the working of the government and the attitude of the babudom, which looks the other way whenever confronted by the people for what is due to them. But then the ‘aam aadmi’ is the man on the street, only important at the time of hustings and then left to be forgotten by those elected to power.

Not one single policy matter or a decision has been taken that will help the man on the street. For chief minister Vijay Bahuguna there were more important things to do like reverse the decisions of the previous BJP government and plan the birth anniversary function of his illustrious father, Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna, and even visit the ancestral home in Bughani village in Pauri district of the state.

But then as the ‘aam aadmi’ is asking. What did Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna, dubbed as the ‘son of the soil’ do for the people of Uttarakhand in general and Garhwal in particular, where he returned to seek election to the Lok Sabha in 1981. He was chief minister of Uttar Pradesh in 1973 (then Uttarakhand was part of the state) and also its finance minister and communications, petroleum and finance minister in the centre during various times.

The only development attributed to him is the Garhwal University that has been aptly named after him. As communication minister he set up the Indian Telephone Industries in Naini, Allahabad which w as his adopted home but gave nothing to Uttarkhand. One can recall that the tainted union communication minister Sukh Ram brought about a miraculous sea change in communication in Himachal Pradesh, his home state, which the people relish even today.

Perhaps the people of Uttarakhand will have to take solace from the fact that even die hard Congress supporters are not giving the full five year term to the Vijay Bahuguna led government. It will collapse under its own weight, not to mention the likes of Harish Rawat, Harak Singh Rawat and the number if dissatisfied ministers in the state cabinet.

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A journalist with over 40 years of experience, Jagdish Bhatt was Editor, Hill Post (Uttarakhand). Jagdish had worked with India's leading English dailies, which include Times of India, Indian Express, Pioneer and several other reputed publications. A highly acclaimed journalist, he was a recipient of many awards Jagdish Bhatt, aged 72, breathed his last on 28th August 2021 at his Dehradun residence.

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