UKD leaders should unite to reverse the rot in Uttarakhand

Dehra Dun : The Uttarakhand Kranti Dal (UKD) had successfully spearheaded the statehood agitation of the hill districts of western Uttar Pradesh being made into a state to meet the aspirations and needs of the people. 

Tragically, after Uttarakhand became a reality in November 2000, the UKD decimated over the years and has almost become a non-entity in this small mountain state now as far as mass appeal or following is concerned. Sadly there is not even a face in the party, like the late Indramani Badoni that has mass acceptance in the state.

However, word now in political circles in the state is that the party is gearing up to make its presence felt in the assembly elections slated in Uttarakhand sometime in 2017. After having drawn a blank in the 2012 vidhan sabha elections and its vote share having come down drastically, political pundits here feelthat perhaps only a miracle can revive the party.

Most of them feel that the party leaders may at best be trying to flog a dead horse by putting up candidates for the 2017 assembly elections, without doing the necessary spadework to restore the image of the party to the levels that it as during the pre-statehood times.

“One must nor forget the fact that it was at the call of the then UKD leaders like Badoni that the statehood call became a mass agitation and lakhs of men, women and youth literally came out on to the streets of various towns and townships in the hill areas of the western districts of then Uttar Pradesh demanding a separate state”, they added.

They said that one cannot forget the sacrifice of the statehood agitators and agitationists, who not only braved the icy winds and rain, but even the scorching sun as they took out processions in various places. “And mind you they were cane and lathicharged on various occasions and the police and PAC even fired rounds at them, killing quite a few, but they still came out at the call of the UKD leaders”, political pundits recalled.

While certain BJP and Congress leaders of Uttarakhand today may boast that they too had sacrificed during the statehood agitation, but there is no denying the fact that it was primarily the UKD and its leaders who were at the forefront, and it was at their call that the masses were turning out en masse on to the streets.

Sadly over the years, the UKF broke up into various factions led by leaders who were motivated by other factors than the dreams that the statehood agitators were nurturing once the state became a reality. As the party decimated into various factions, the trust and loyalty of the masses in the party and its leaders also started waning, to the extent that in the 2012 elections a number of the party candidates even forfeited their deposits.

All is, however, not lost and once the leaders leading the various factions of the party can forget their personal differences and put personal matters into the back burner and take up the issues of the masses once again, that of employment and work for the youth, better amenities in the far flung interiors and prospects for an improved and better tomorrow, they can once again become the leaders of the masses.

They must not forget the fact that in the over 14 years that this nascent state came into existence, conditions have only deteriorated from bad to worse. It may be health, education, employment prospects, agriculture and horticulture facilities or just road connectivity people are just decrying the existing facilities, which is perhaps why the number of villages that are becoming empty due to mass migration is only increasing. 

Perhaps unitedly and with devoted efforts coupled with the support of the masses, they can reverse the rot.

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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