HindustanTimes Fri,26 Dec 2014

Five nominees have CM tags behind them

Prithviraj Singh  Dehradun, April 09, 2014
First Published: 23:16 IST(9/4/2014) | Last Updated: 23:19 IST(9/4/2014)

The Congress’ announcement of its Lok Sabha candidates from Pauri, Tehri and Haridwar constituencies has almost completed the nominations of the two major parties in the state. Now, as the final picture more or less emerges, five big nominations have chief ministerial tags behind them.

While the Bharatiya Janata Party had already fielded three former chief ministers — Bhagat Singh Koshyari, BC Khanduri and Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank — as its candidates, the Congress on Wednesday nominated Saket Bahuguna, the son of former chief minister Vijay Bahuguna, and Renuka Rawat, the wife of the current CM Harish Rawat, as its candidates from Tehri and Haridwar constituencies. The BJP has fielded Koshyari from Nainital-Udhamsingh Nagar and Nishank from Haridwar.

While the Congress leadership was more interested in fielding Vijay Bahuguna, the latter was unwilling to take up the job. On the other hand, he pleaded Congress president Sonia Gandhi to replace him with his son Saket, despite the fact that the AICC leadership was not very keen to accept his proposal. However, sources informed that senior Bahuguna put his foot down to ensure that his son gets the ticket. On the other hand, Renuka’s candidature was a forgone decision, as the Congress lacked any name that would have gotten unanimous acceptances from local Congress members.

Although the Congress’ nominations on Wednesday from two constituencies were on execrated lines, it was unusual in Pauri as the central leadership changed its decision to replace Gambhir Singh Negi with Harak Singh Rawat at the last moment. Negi’s replacement resulted on the advice of new AICC state in-charge Rajiv Shukla, despite the fact that the former army general was picked by none other than Gandhi herself, sources said.

Though the CM was in favour of Negi initially, he too gave up later. Interestingly, Singh was initially reluctant to contest elections as the party was devoid of candidates immediately after its traditional candidate Satpal Maharaj joined the BJP on March 21.

Meanwhile, BJP candidates in Tehri and Pauri constituencies have breathed a sigh of relief after Congress finalised its nominees in both the seats. Singh and Saket are considered to be weak candidates as compared to their counterparts BC Khanduri and sitting MP Mala Rajyalaxmi Shah.

While the BJP candidates are confident of their victory riding over the saffron wave sweeping the country, they are doubly sure of their victory after the Congress announced its candidates. “We hope to win with more than 50,000 votes, as people are disenchanted with former CM Bahuguna and the present Congress regime led by Harish Rawat. They are rearing to express their anger against the Congress rule in the state,” said Rajpal Negi, a close aide of Shah.

more from Dehradun

‘Central aid to state rose in past 3 yrs, but growth slow’

The annual assistance from the Centre to the state has increased in last few financial years, according to official statistics, even though the Uttarakhand government has been firing salvos at the central government over it.
Two days ago, the state Congress unit demanded `4,000 crore financial assistance from the centre.
According to the central statistics office figures, the Centre released `4883.74 crores for the state in 2011-12. It released `4717.68 crores in 2012-2013. And in 2013-2014, it increased the assistance to `5418.60 crores.

Uttarakhand is one of the 11 Himalayan states which enjoy special category status besides Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim.
These special category states have to make part payment to the centre in lieu of getting funds for centrally-sponsored schemes.
Interestingly, on an average, central assistance has been substantial for the state though it has not helped Uttarakhand in increasing its Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) which is total monetary value of goods and services produced by a state economy in a given year.
“GSDP depends on various factors like rate of savings and investments and overall business atmosphere. But that doesn’t mean the state does not need help,” said Surender Kumar, media in-charge for CM adding that the state needs more funds.
The figures for Uttarakhand GSDP growth at constant (2004-5) price (as on 01-08-2014) was 9.36% in 2011-12. It was 5.61% in 2012-13 and 5.65% in 2013-2014.
Sometime back Planning Commission constituted a committee to study development in hill states arising from management of forest land with special focus on creation of infrastructure, livelihood and human development.
The report of the committee was discussed in Internal Planning Committee meeting held in February this year.
A Planning Commission note claimed that IPC broadly endorsed the recommendations of the committee. The report has also been forwarded to states for further inputs.

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