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Ex-CM Rawat trying to ‘revive career by politicising’ Gairsain issue: BJP

The BJP on Friday accused Congress leader and former chief minister Harish Rawat of trying to “revive his career by politicising” the Gairsain issue through sit-ins and march

dehradun Updated: Jun 16, 2017 18:27 IST
Neha Pant
Neha Pant
Hindustan Times
Uttarakhand News,Harish Rawat,Gairsain
Former chief minister Harish Rawat during his ‘Gairsain Zindabad Yatra’ at Gairsain in Chamoli district. (HT Photo)

The BJP on Friday accused Congress leader and former chief minister Harish Rawat of trying to “revive career by politicising” the Gairsain issue through sit-ins and march.

Rawat is currently on ‘Gairsain Zindabad Yatra’ to protest the BJP government’s decision to not hold the assembly’s budget session in the hill town in Chamoli district.

The erstwhile Congress government led by Rawat had pledged to hold the budget session at Gairsain, if voted to power. But the BJP, which came to power in March with a thumping majority, chose to hold the session in Dehradun.

Rawat held a sit-in outside the assembly building against the government’s move on June 8. He reached Gairsain on Thursday as a part of his yatra to further highlight the issue.

Notably, Uttarakhand natives have for long been demanding declaration of Gairsain – a hill town equidistant from both Garhwal and Kumaon divisions – as the state’s permanent capital.

The Gairsain issue is considered central to the ethos of a hill state as opposed to Dehradun, a city located in the plains, which was made the interim capital when Uttarakhand was chalked out of Uttar Pradesh in 2000.

The BJP said Rawat was “fighting for his political survival personally as well as within the Congress”, where Leader of the Opposition Indira Hridayesh was currently on the driver’s seat.

“The yatra is a fight for his (Rawat’s) personal existence after having lost ground in the assembly election,” said Devendra Bhasin, the BJP’s state media in-charge.

The Congress, under Rawat’s chief ministership, won 11 seats in the state election held early this year against the BJP’s 57 in the 70-member house.

“All his (Congress) government did was misleading people in the name of Gairsain,” Bhasin said. He also alleged that assembly sessions held at Gairsain by the then Congress government “ended up wasting crores of rupees”.

“It is unfortunate that (Harish) Rawat ji is politicising the issue of Gairsain...Our (BJP) government is committed to develop Gairsain properly and make it the summer capital after doing proper groundwork,” Bhasin said.

Former chief minister Rawat, however, categorically rejected Bhasin’s allegations, saying the yatra was a part of his “duty as a leader of the opposition party”.

“I am only discharging my duty as an opposition leader by highlighting the crucial issue of Gairsain and development of the hills. It is the BJP which is playing politics on the issue by giving political colours to this purely pro-pahad (hills) campaign,” Rawat told HT.

“Gairsain represents the sentiment central to the state formation movement…it is also symbolic of the highlanders’ struggles for seeking a separate hill state,” Rawat said. “By choosing to not hold the budget session at Gairsain, the BJP government has not only insulted the state but also its people,” he said.

First Published: Jun 16, 2017 18:27 IST