Factionalism to the fore in Uttarakhand BJP again

Dehradun : Factionalism, which was to a great extent responsible for the BJP not retaining power in Uttarakhand and its poster boy, former chief minister Maj Gen B C Khanduri losing at the hustings from the Kotdwara assembly segment is back again to haunt the party, which is yet to announce its leader in the vidhan sabha though two months have lapsed.

The reason appears to be quite simple as both Khanduri and his predecessor former chief minister Ramesh Pokhriyal are both trying to get one better on the other.

It is perhaps because of this that not only the state leaders but even the party high command is not able to take any concrete decisions regarding the Uttarakhand unit of the party.

Sensing that things may go against him, as there have been allegations by the Khanduri camp that it was Ramesh Pokhriyal who had allegedly planned the strategy for Khanduri’s loss at Kotdwara, Pokhriyal has now for the first time come out with a statement that had it not been for his removal from chief ministership, the BJP would have retained power in the state.

Having remained silent for almost two months, Pokhriyal went on record to say that the Congress leaders in Uttarakhand had distributed sweets when he was removed as chief minister and replaced with Khanduri.

“They did this because they knew that with my removal it had become easier for them to come to power in the state”, he claimed.

Pokhriyal said that he had implemented various policies and programmes for the upliftment of the poor in the state and they had started giving results which would have shown in the assembly elections.

But with his removal those programmes and policies were shelved, because of which the party lose, he pointed out.

However, Khanduri has all along maintained a stoic silence on the reasons why he lost on the pretext that the facts were with the party high command which would decide on the matter.

The party high command has been informed and they have the facts, it is for them to spell the reasons it out and take action, he has said.

But not to be left out in the race of one upmanship and also that he is a still a power to reckon with in Uttarakhand as far as the masses are concerned, Khanduri has for the first time out said openly that he would contest against chief minister Vijay Bahuguna in the by-election of the BJP high command so desired.

Obviously this is to press home the point that it is only he in the BJP who can take against a sitting chief minister.

It may be recalled that Bahuguna and Khanduri are first cousins and have not contested against each other in the past and this is perhaps the first time that they will should the BJP high command direct Khanduri to contest.

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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