Uttarakhand government's decision to hold a cabinet meeting at Kedarnath and asking the opposition parties in the state to witness the reconstruction initiative of the flood-ravaged shrine, have paid political dividends.
The Harish Rawat-led government had ferried the entire state cabinet and leaders of the opposition parties to the temple town on Monday to roll out a six-phase roadmap for Kedarnath reconstruction, setting three-year deadline for its completion.
The cabinet meeting was attended by all the opposition parties except the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The BJP, the main opposition in the state assembly, criticised the government junket, saying that it was a waste of public fund.
The government junket was a cheap gimmick and the cabinet meeting would not serve any purpose at all, said leader of opposition in the state assembly Ajay Bhatt.
The parties- the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), the Uttarakhand Kranti Dal (UKD), the Samajwadi Party, CPI, and CPM- which were part of the state government-sponsored trip, are enthusiastic about the state's initiative.
They said that they would be available for any such move in the future, which is aimed at aiding the development of the state.
"It is a good initiative and it will send a good message," said Sarbat Karim Ansari, the BSP legislator for Manglaur in Haridwar district.
"The BJP members just want to indulge in petty politics and are not interested in solving the problems of the people," he said.
UKD chief BD Raturi said that the people were reluctant to travel to the Kedarnath region and the cabinet meeting has sent a strong message that the pace is safe.
"We saw with our own eyes that the roads were being metalled and things are returning to normalcy," said Raturi.
"The cabinet has taken several decisions at Kedarnath, which are in the interest of the state. The CM has said that they would reconstruct the temple in a lavish manner. We have given the suggestion that a memorial of the deceased pilgrims can be made at the rock that lies behind the Kedarnath shrine and which shielded it from destruction," he said.
The UKD has demanded for increasing of the green cover around Kedarnath.
Communist Party of India national council member Samar Bhandari said, "We would support any move at restoring confidence among the tourists and pilgrims to the state."
Interestingly, Baba Ramdev was all praise for the Rawat government's initiative.