Former state Congress chief looks to find ways to ‘save Uttarakhand’
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Former state Congress chief looks to find ways to ‘save Uttarakhand’

Many activists and intellectuals gathered to brainstorm on pertinent issues facing the state.

dehradun Updated: Jan 19, 2018 20:48 IST
Neha Pant
Neha Pant
Hindustan Times, Dehradun
Uttarakhand news,Congress chief,Kishore Upadhyay
Former state Congress chief Kishore Upadhyay held 'Uttarakhand Vimarsh', a daylong consultation on issues centric to the hill state, in Dehradun on Friday.(Vinay Santosh Kumar/HT)

In what is being viewed as an attempt to ‘go solo’, Kishore Upadhyay, former state Congress president, has been holding a series of programs of late on a variety of issues, away from the Congress headquarters.

On Friday, Upadhyay held Uttarakhand Vimarsh, a consultation with experts on how to “save the hill state”.

Ever since the party’s - and his own - crushing defeat in the 2017 assembly polls, observers say that Upadhyay has been trying to engage in ‘parallel politics’ by way of raising issues independently, away from the party line.

Upadhyay, however, asserted that such programs had nothing to do with his being a Congressman and that it was an attempt to highlight “social issues close to my heart” which successive governments have failed to address over the past 17 years of Uttarakhand’s formation.

“I was involved in the statehood formation movement (during the 1990s) so I’m really pained at the way things have turned out in Uttarakhand since then. Programs such as these are a medium to scout for ideas and suggestions through which we can help resuscitate the state’s development,” Upadhyay said, refuting rumors that he was trying to “establish a parallel identity”.

At the daylong consultation, a number of activists, intellectuals and political leaders gathered to brainstorm on pertinent issues facing the state including migration, lack of basic facilities in the hills, issue of making Gairsain (a small town in Chamoli district) the permanent state capital among others.

Social activist Geeta Gairola pointed out how the hill folks have “gathered and disengaged” several times over the past two decades. “What we really need is to unite and fight as a single entity and fight consistently to force the government to sit up and take notice of our demands.”

Entrepreneur Jaideep Saklani, whose family was ousted from Tehri due to the construction of Tehri Dam, said, “Migration (from the hills) is a natural process, which is bound to happen. Politicians have turned Gairsain into a picnic spot where they go to hold assembly session once a year but there’s no serious focus on developing the hills.”

B P Maithani, president of RTI Club Uttarakhand, pointed out how ‘chakbandi’ or consolidation of small agricultural land holdings in the hilly areas was important to ensure welfare of the farmers.

First Published: Jan 19, 2018 20:48 IST