Chief minister Harish Rawat on Wednesday claimed that the ruling Congress would form the next government at the Centre under its vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s leadership while dismissing Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) prime ministerial pick Narendra Modi as inconsequential.
Uttrakhand chief minister Harish Rawat shows the indelible ink mark at a polling centre, in Dehradun on Wednesday. (Rishi Ballabh/HT Photo)
“Modi is the creation of a few corporate houses. Our party is going to form the next government at the Centre under Rahulji’s leadership. We shall also win all the five Lok Sabha seats in the state,” the CM claimed before casting his vote here in the state capital. He arrived in the city’s Niranjanpur polling station minutes past 9am unaccompanied by his wife Renuka who is contesting the Haridwar LS seat on the Congress ticket. She would cast her vote in the Niranjanpur polling station in the afternoon, a member of the CM staff said adding she was busy meeting people in Haridwar. The (Niranjanpur) polling station falls in that LS constituency only.
“There is no Modi wave sweeping through this state,” the CM said when quizzed by the waiting reporters about the BJP PM pick’s impact on Uttarakhand. Rawat claimed that the locals have “my name” on their lips instead of Namo’s (the nickname of BJP’s PM pick Narendra Modi).
“The trend has reversed because I succeeded not just in giving a push to development in the state. My government was also able to accelerate the reconstruction process in the disaster-hit areas within two-and-a-half months of taking over,” the CM said claiming that the state would now emerge stronger from the rain disaster that hit it in June ’13.
Rawat also accused the BJP of playing politics on the Chardham yatra (annual pilgrimage to the four shrines in the state). “They (BJP) claimed that we wouldn’t be able to resume the pilgrimage as the yatra route had been washed away by last June’s deluge,” he said. Not only had the annual yatra resumed as per schedule but hundreds of devotees had also started thronging the state’s Chardham religious circuit.
“Even Raval (the chief priest of the Kedarnath shrine) confided in me recently that he had not expected that the yatra would resume even in the next four years,” the CM said. He said he had also called a cabinet meeting on Thursday so that green signal could be given to all pending works relating to the reconstruction of the yatra route on which the decisions could not be taken owing to the poll code having been in force, so far.
“The enthusiasm of our cadres helped us overcome the weaknesses our party’s organisational wing is beset with,” Rawat commented when reporters reminded him about his statement in which he admitted that the Congress being organisationally weak could affect its chances in the LS polls.