The BJP on Monday criticised chief minister Harish Rawat for announcing to stage a hunger strike in Delhi to protest the Centre’s rejection of his master plan for an eco-sensitive zone (ESZ) in Bhagirathi valley, saying it was a political gimmick to gain mileage ahead of polls.
The central government’s rejection was in line with an order of the National Green Tribunal (NGT), which had rejected the master plan over several loopholes, BJP state unit spokesperson Munna Singh Chauhan said.
“The master plan was submitted without soliciting opinion of stakeholders to be affected by ESZ provisions, which was an essential requirement,” he said. Chauhan also asked Rawat “to clarify whether he would be protesting against the NGT”.
“The order notifying the Bhagirathi valley’s 100-km stretch in Uttarkashi as the ESZ was secretly issued by the erstwhile UPA government in 2012 when Rawat was the union water resources minister,” said Chauhan.
“He (Rawat) could have easily got the (UPA government) order cancelled… Why didn’t he take corrective step?” he asked.
The BJP leader also accused the state government of submitting the master plan to the Centre long after stipulated two years time had expired.
Besides, Chauhan accused the chief minister of indulging in politics of blackmail to divert people’s attention from an CBI inquiry against him over offering a bribe to dissident Congress legislators to save his government in March last year.
Rawat on Sunday announced the daylong token hunger strike in Delhi on January 5, saying: “I have decided to oppose the rejection of our master plan as it will hamper development in all the riparian areas in the state.”
The hill state will hold election to the 70-member state assembly early this year.
Congress backs Rawat
The Congress unit in Uttarakhand on Monday backed the chief minister’s decision to stage the hunger strike.
State unit president Kishore Upadhyay said scores of Congressmen from Uttarakhand and Delhi would be present at the protest venue to support the chief minister.
Upadhyay, who was often on loggerhead with Rawat over several issues, said the Congress would demand for right over river water and bonus for horticulture activities in the state.