Budget session in Gairsain says BJP, Congress claims credit
The nine-day budget session will commence with Governor K K Paul’s address to the House on March 20.dehradun Updated: Feb 09, 2018 21:40 IST
In what is being billed as a “historic first” by the ruling BJP, the Uttarakhand government will hold the assembly’s next budget session at Gairsain, the mountain state’s centrally located town.
The nine-day budget session will commence with Governor K K Paul’s address to the House on March 20. Incidentally, Paul will be the first governor to inaugurate an assembly session in the Vidhan Bhawan at Gairsain.
The preceding Congress government held three assembly sessions there but none of these was a budget session. It, however, passed a resolution on the floor of the House in 2016 that the assembly’s next budget session would be held at Gairsain.
The BJP, however, replaced the Congress in the 2017 assembly polls and subsequently held its first assembly session at Gairain in December but abruptly adjourned it within two days. It was obligatory on the BJP government to hold a budget session there as it was bound by the unanimous resolution passed by the Congress regime on the floor of the House.
Sources in the state government said it had earlier decided to hold the next budget session both in Dehradun and Gairsain. It was proposed to be a 14-day session which was to commence from February 14. But later, the BJP leadership changed its mind in favour of holding the budget session, spread over nine days, at Gairsain.
Chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat dubbed his government’s move to hold a budget session in that town as historic. “We are holding the state’s first budget session there (Gairsain) after its formation, so obviously it is a historic move,” he told Hindustan Times on the sidelines of a function here Friday.
Rawat, however, chose to maintain ambivalence on the possibility of making the hill town as the state’s permanent capital. “You can write whatever you wish to write”, he said when asked if his decision to hold a budget session at Gairsain was a step towards commissioning it as the state’s permanent capital.
Incidentally, his statement was at variance with BJP state unit chief Ajay Bhatt’s statement, which was issued recently. In an interview with HT recently, Bhatt had asserted that the BJP government’s decision to hold a budget session at Gairsain was a step towards commissioning it as a permanent capital.
The BJP speaking in different voices on the hill town reflects its confusion over naming it as a permanent capital. Incidentally, that had also been the Paharis’ (highlanders) demand even before the 1990s long drawn agitation for a separate hill state of Uttarakhand began.
However, both the Congress and the BJP fear that commissioning Gairsain as a permanent capital would end up evoking a severe backlash from the people in the plain districts who want a permanent capital to be made in the plain region only. Meanwhile, a war of words has broken out between the two parties that have been alternately ruling the state since its formation in 2000.
“This (BJP) government was forced convene a budget session at Gairsain owing to a resolution we passed in the assembly. Besides, it is we who began the process of building the Vidhan Bhawan there,” said senior Congress leader Surendra Kumar.
BJP state unit general secretary Khajan Das refuted the allegation. “We don’t work under anybody’s pressure…Whatever decision our party takes is in deference to the people’s wishes only,” he said. “We will try to build a consensus among all political parties in favour of a permanent capital.”