Burning issues take back seat in Uttarakhand

Dehra Dun : With independents and candidates of various parties filing their nomination papers, electioneering has picked up in Uttarakhand, though untimely rains and snow at this time of the year are hampering the campaigning.

But what has disillusioned the electorate by and large is the fact that the sensitive issues have failed to figure on the forefront of the various political parties.

Though AAP has raised the issue of Gairsain being made the capital of the state in its manifesto for this small hill state, none of the other parties, including the Uttarakhand Kranti Dal, which had struggled for statehood and promised to make Gairsain the capital of the new state, have mentioned it.

It is another issue that during the vidhan sabha elections, the matter is raised by all and sundry to woo the electorate of the upper reaches.

The people by and large feel that what Uttarakhand needs, like the entire country for that matter, is efficient administration and good governance.

Then there are the burning issues of tackling the rampant corruption, mass migration from the villages to the plains and job opportunities for the youth. It is an irony that while political leaders of all hues express concern on villages getting empty, no party has tried to talk in terms of measures to contain the problem.

Then there is corruption, which is eating into the very vitals of this small hill state. The extent of corruption can be gauged from the fact that a former chief secretary of Uttarakhand, S K Das while talking to the media to express his support for AAP did not mince words to say that corruption is rampant and on the rise in the state.

Though he did not spell out what measures did he adopt or make efforts to adopt to contain or take the issue head on when he was chief secretary of the state, but he went on record to say that the level of corruption was not as high and as rampant as it is today. “The graph of corruption has been moving steadily up every year during the about 14 years existence of this small hill state”, he added.

Popular opinion is that if there is efficient administration and good governance, most of the ills prevailing in Uttarakhand will subside generally.

The moot question is whether the politicians who come to power in Uttarakhand will have the political will to ensure that the babus, who seem to be having their free will, respond to good governance and efficient administration.

All the political parties, including AAP, are quiet on the issues concerning the common man, Even matters pertaining to improving the basic infrastructure and providing potable water in the villages of the hills do not figure. In fact issues have taken a back seat, as candidates are hoping to win on the popularity of the parties at various levels.

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.

1 Comment

  • All ills in our country began soon after the then Netas refused to pay any heed to the visionary words of the First & the Last Governor General and the first Bharat Ratna of India-Chakravarti Rajagopalachari (CR).CR had said that since the country had been slave for centuries,a common man was not in a state or position to understand his/her primary & basic responsibilities to either appreciate ‘parliamentary democracy’ as enshrined in the Constitution & be worthy of it.CR had asked for the draft constitution to be put to him for perusal.This was sometimes in November-December 1949.CR had suggested that there was a dire need to insert certain checks & balances/controls in the body of the subject document for about 10 years or so to develop a National Ethos & Culture.Inter- alia,CR had also spoken, that the representatives of people in Parliament & State assemblies must have definite qualifications to hold such high constitutional positions.He said that there was requirement of a controlled Democracy to begin with.He had praised the Constitution & said that while this needs to be adopted with no further delay ,but it must have the flexibility to make people “SWATANTRA” & NOT ” SWACHANDA”.CR later fell with Nehru,left Congress & raised Swatantra Party.The rest is history.
    The above narrative is relevant here to describe the chemistry of the Netas & Babus of our country.Situation in Uttarakhand is no different.In fact, it is worse here as the State is having its eighth Chief Minister in little over 13 years.What leadership,vision or empathy can one expect from such ‘ so called representatives of people’ ? Recall, three states were born almost at the same time.Out of these three Jharkhand did not accept delimitation. Netas & Babus of Uttarakhand (Old Uttaranchal) being a sensitive state with two international boundaries with difficult neighbours could not even think that it would be suicidal to accept delimitation in this very special State-where the migration is rampant ,border belts are getting vacated & no upward socio-economic movement was taking place.This lack of foresight & utter ignorance of Netas-Babus combine has led to continuing reduction in political representation from the hill belts. Compare the population differences in the last 20 years.
    What is the logic in having an alternate Vidhan Sabha Complex at Gairsain ? Is Uttarakhand like J & K ? Or Uttarakhand is that rich to afford this luxury ?All important buildings have been constructed permanently at Dehradun & one still calls Dehradun a temporary capital.What is all this ?
    The issue is that there is a total bankruptcy in thought,leadership & minds of people aspiring for the coveted places in positions of power.
    It is sad that dirty politics involving regions,castes & creed is being played.This is THE ONGOING GAME !
    We wait for a Masiha in the land of Gods,Warriors & Artists to solve our problems ;but where do we go from here ?

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