Uttarakhand CM Rawat being paid back in the same coin

Dehra Dun : Political one-upmanship, besides oft repeated a rudderless and unbridled bureaucracy seem to be the bane of this small hill state, where even after 15 years of its formation, development of the backward and interior areas continue to remain on the back burner, to the extent that there is an exodus and immigration from the villages in search of greener pastures to the plains.

Either the BJP or the Congress, the two main political parties that have ruled the state since it was formed in Nov 2000, there has been no stability in the government with a section of the party leaders all out to rock the boat of the chief minister to get at the helm of affairs. Whether it was Nishank, Kothiyari or Khanduri for the BJP or Narain Dutt Tewari, Vijay Bahuguna or the current incumbent Harish Rawat for the Congress, as chief ministers they have always been more concentrated on saving their chair than reining in the bureaucracy to ensure that the development works percolate down to the grass root level.

Harish Rawat
Chief Minister Harish Rawat

True there has neither been a vision nor a plan for a phased development of this small hill state, but even the little that was envisaged was nipped in the bud by the babudom that ensured that the development projects were confined to the files and did not see the light of the day. The current chief minister Harish Rawat has made over two thousand announcements, but not even a couple of hundred have been implemented at the ground level.

Governments are supposed to work in continuity meaning whereby that the developmental projects undertaken by a chief minister should be continued and implemented, should he or she be removed mid-way and is replaced by another person. But this has not been the situation in Uttarakhand, as projects have been shelved mid-way or just scrapped, purely because they were some one else’s brain child and the person should not get credit for it.

Uttarakhand
Former Uttarakhand Chief Ministers

The latest in this line is the tussle between chief minister Harish Rawat and his bête noire former chief minister Vijay Bahuguna. The former chief minister in a letter to chief minister Rawat said that as works in his constituency that he had announced, which were not being implemented even one year after he had been removed, would be holding an ‘akrosh rally’, in his assembly segment on Feb 15.

Sensing that the rally could be the beginning of his problems, Rawat who feels he is still on a shaky wicket despite offering doles to all his detractors, immediately replied to Bahuguna stating that the mentioned works would be cleared by the cabinet at its next meeting. The chief minister also met the Congress high command in Delhi to voice his concern at the proposed ‘akrosh rally’ of Bahuguna claiming that it was a move to weaken and destabilize his, which would mar the development projects that he has envisaged for the state.

But then Bahuguna is repaying Rawat in the same coin that the latter has used against various Congress chief ministers in Uttarakhand. Whether it was Narain Dutt Tewari or Bahuguna, both were busy protecting their back from Harish Rawat, who spared little in weakening and destabilizing them in the state and were more than pre-occupied in trying to salvage their position with the masses as also the party high command.

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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