No Uttarakhand Congress leader promising to tackle problems of masses

Dehra Dun : Though Uttarakhand chief minister Vijay Bahuguna tried to put the lid on speculations that he could be removed shortly by saying that there is only one coveted post in the state and at the present there is no vacancy on the slot, but political observers here claimed that almost all the Congress political bigwigs of this small hill state are desperately pulling strings behind the curtain.

Ironically, Bahuguna who over the year that he has been in office has manipulated the support of some rebel legislators of the Harish Rawat camp and also of the independent and BSP MLAs supporting the Congress government in the state, is now banking upon numbers to stick to the chair. But it is to be seen how long he manages to hold the support of the 20 MLAs reported to be in his favour as CM.

Incidentally, in the game of umbers, Harish Rawat was at the top immediately after the vidhan sabha elections in the state with Bahuguna far behind, but then the latter took the stand that the party high command would take the decision. But now that he finds the numbers to be with him, he has changed his attitude that the majority of the MLAs want his to continue.

As manipulations go on behind the curtain there are a number of factors that are coming to play. First ofcourse is the majority being with Bahuguna as of now, then there is Indira Hridesh who staked her claim to the CM’s post that she is the legislator with the longest tenure and as such her seniority should be respected as also her experience as minister.

A plea also being taken by Bahuguna supporters is the fact that the adjoining hill state of Himachal Pradesh has a Rajput chief minister and as such it is only proper that a Brahmin should be at the helm in this small state, or else it would send a wrong message to the community all over the country in the run up to Lok Sabha election slated later this year. Rawat happens to be a Rajput.

One should not forget that there is the Godman Satpal Maharaj who is keenly waiting and watching the manouvres from the sidelines. He is ready to throw in his hat at the opportune moment and is reported to be lobbying actively through some Congress central leaders who are said to be close to him. He also has a strong support from a handful of party MLAs in the state.

But what has irked the people of Uttarakhand is the fact that none of the state leaders are staking their claim on the issue of competency and delivering to the people, what they have not got for the over 13 years that this small hill state came into being.

The burning issues of the people, the hopes and aspirations of the masses have been dashed and continue to remain on the back benches.

Sadly there has not been a single politician with a vision and political will to deliver. The issue of the state capital being shifted to Gairsain, which was a promise of the statehood agitators who braved not only the weather but the brutalities of the Uttar Pradesh Police and PAC (Uttarakhand was a part of Uttar Pradesh before it was carved out in Nov 2000) still remain unresolved.

Though political parties do raise up the issue to get political mileage at the hustings and Vijay Bahguna also announced that a vidhan sabha would come up at Gairsain, but though Rs 71 crores have been sanctioned for it, not a brick has been moved to the site. And to add to the puzzle a site for the construction of a vidhan sabha bhawan has also been finalized in Raipur in Dehra Dun district.

Then there are the burning issues of migration from the villages to the townships, which are already overflowing with people and the issue of unemployment. While basic infrastructure in the hinterlands and upper reaches of this small hill state is almost negligible, the youth is migrating in search of greener pastures to other states in the plains.

Villages in the upper reaches are getting empty and wear a desolate look,fertile land is lying waste as there is no one to till them, with entire populations migrating, but none of the political leadership of the Congress that is vying for the top slot has promised the party high command that it will resolve these burning problems that the masses are facing.

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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