U’khand: CM’s plan to create 8 new districts opens Pandora’s box

  • Deep Joshi, Hindustan Times, Dehradun
  • Updated: Jun 04, 2016 15:07 IST
Chief minister Harish Rawat at a Hanuman temple in Bharatpur’s Weir area on Friday. (HT photo)

It could be the problem of plenty for chief minister Harish Rawat who plans to carve out eight more districts in Uttarakhand.

The Congress legislators want much more seeking districts in their respective assembly constituencies. Uttarakhand that was carved out of Uttar Pradesh in 2000 comprises 13 districts.

Though the BJP hasn’t opposed the proposal on new districts, it has alleged that the ruling Congress has initiated the move with an eye on the 2017 assembly elections.

The saffron party’s ambivalence is understandable considering that it had first proposed the creation of four districts – Ranikhet, Kotdwar, Didihat and Yamnotri Ghati – when it was in power in 2010. The proposal was, however, dropped later.

“The proposal to create eight new districts is being debated at the level of the government,” confirmed Surendra Kumar, the chief minister’s media in-charge, though he refused to identify the eight districts.

Read: Rawat’s move to nominate aide to Rajya Sabha upsets MLAs

The CM aide, however, clarified that a decision to create the new districts would be taken in keeping with the requirement and the public sentiment. Kumar dubbed the erstwhile BJP regime’s proposal to create new districts as a political decision.

However, the grapevine has it that the proposed eight districts also include the four districts proposed by the erstwhile BJP regime. Unconfirmed reports said Ranikhet, Kotdwar, Didihat, Yamnotri Ghati, Ramnagar and Roorkee etc. could be notified as new districts by the Rawat government.

The proposal may have been mooted in the name of the decentralisation of administration but it has literally opened a Pandora’s Box within the Congress. Jeet Ram, the party’s Tharali MLA, for instance, had recently resigned to protest against the non-inclusion of his constituency in the proposal for eight districts. The chief minister though succeeded in persuading the Dalit leader to withdraw his resignation later.

Similarly, another Congress MLA Anusuya Prasad Maikhuri, who represents Karnaprayag assembly constituency, has demanded that Gairsain be included in the list of the proposed new districts. The CM has already declared the state’s centrally located hill town as it’s summer capital.

State Congress president Kishore Upadhyay said the new districts would be made where they would be needed. “The new districts can’t be created in all the 70 assembly constituencies,” he said, indirectly referring to the growing demand for new districts among the ruling party MLAs.

The BJP said it was in favour of small administrative units but dubbed Rawat’s move to create new districts as a populist measure.

“The chief minister’s reported move to notify eight new districts is being initiated with an eye on the next assembly polls,” state BJP spokesperson Vinay Goyal alleged.

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