HindustanTimes Mon,22 Dec 2014

Will Baba be able to score hattrick on Nainital-US Nagar LS seat?

Deep Joshi  Dehradun, April 23, 2014
First Published: 16:27 IST(23/4/2014) | Last Updated: 16:31 IST(23/4/2014)

KC Singh Baba, the Congress sitting MP who is re-contesting from the Nainital-US Nagar Lok Sabha seat, is the scion of the erstwhile Chand rulers of Kumaon.

A keen sports enthusiast, Baba had been a power-lifter before he joined politics. Development of his constituency, he says, is the sole purpose of his being in the political field.

Despite the royal lineage, the two-time MP rose from the ranks. He started his political career from the municipal level. Baba’s first brush with politics began when he was elected the chairman of the municipal board of Kashipur — his home town settled by his forefathers.

Later in 1989, he won the Kashipur assembly seat as an Independent candidate. Baba again won that seat in 1996 but on the Congress ticket.

The party fielded him next from the Nainital-Udham Singh Nagar LS seat in the 2004 general election, which he won. He also won that seat consecutively for the second time in the subsequently held 2009 LS polls.

Two successive wins from one LS seat speak of Baba’s popularity.  “Development of my constituencies has been my top priority. Or else, why am I in politics?” Baba often says.

“He (Baba) always tries to spend every paise of the MP LAD (Local Area Development) fund that is allocated to him for his constituency,” his close aide Manoj Joshi said.

Joshi said the parliamentarian had also been instrumental in getting a substantial amount of central funds released for the municipal corporations in the state.

“Besides, Babaji has been constantly raising the local and regional issues in Parliament. During his current tenure alone, he asked 247 questions on the floor of the Lok Sabha,” Joshi added.

Joshi counts getting a network of heli-dromes set up in Kashipur, Rudrapur, Khatima, Haldwani, Khatima and Gethia (Nainital) by the MP as one of his significant contributions to his constituency.

Baba, however, claimed if he got reelected, he would get special economic package approved for development of an economically-backward Uttarakhand.

But then will he be able to make a hat trick? “Well, the sailing will not be smooth for Baba owing to a host of factors,” said Surendra Girdhar, an advocate based in the district headquarters town of Rudrapur.  “Anti-incumbency is one of them.

Then, the locals too are very unhappy with the ruling Congress on the issues of corruption and price rise,” he said.

Girdhar said Baba’s BJP rival, former chief minister Bhagat Singh Koshiyari, is a political heavyweight and would give him a tough fight, though he is contesting from Nainital for the first time. “Besides, Congress workers too are unhappy with their LS representative as he has seldom met them,” Girdhar added.

Joshi though claimed that Baba frequently met his constituents and party workers. “However, being humble by nature he keeps a low profile,” he clarified.

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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