Parties in race to take credit for Uttarakhand formation
With elections fast approaching, parties—from BJP and Congress to UKD and SP—are in a race to take ‘credit’ for the formation of Uttarakhand, 16 years after the state came into being.
BJP recently placed full-page advertisements in regional dailies announcing ‘Atal ji ne banaya, Modi ji sanwarenge’ (former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee created Uttarakhand, current PM Narendra Modi will nurture it) ahead of Modi’s proposed visit to the state capital on Tuesday.
The BJP says that it was under Vajpayee that the bill for the formation of a separate hill state (then named Uttaranchal) was passed by Parliament in 2000.
BJP spokesperson Virendra Singh Bisht said there were “no doubts” that the BJP government had given the go-ahead for the formation of Uttarakhand.
“We are not denying the collective efforts made by others (in the formation of Uttarakhand) but the concept is very clear…it was only under Atalji’s leadership that a separate hill state was born,” Bisht said, alleging that the earlier Congress governments had failed to take a decisive stand on the matter.
“We (the BJP) are very sensitive towards the needs of the state and Modiji will take it to greater heights,” Bisht said.
Other parties have, however, rejected BJP’s claims. Formed in 1979, the only recognised state-party Uttarakhand Kranti Dal (UKD), which had played an active role in the state’s formation movement, accused national parties of “hijacking” its contribution.
“We (UKD) were the ones who played an important role in the formation of Uttarakhand and we alone can nurture it properly,” Kashi Singh Airy, patron of the UKD, asserted, while releasing the party’s Vision Document for the state at Gairsain on December 25.
The Samajwadi Party, meanwhile, has claimed that the then Uttar Pradesh government under Mulayam Singh Yadav was the one which first gave a green signal to the formation of Uttarakhand by clearing recommendations of the Kaushik Committee (which was commissioned to study the carving out of Uttarakhand from UP) and sending it to the central government.
“We were the ones who set the process (for the state’s creation) into motion and not the BJP or the Congress. In fact, Atalji’s government did not even make a permanent capital unlike the other two states’ (Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh which were formed along with Uttarakhand in 2000), whose repercussions are still being faced 16 years later,” SP state chief Satyanarayan Sachan said.
SP is now planning to distribute booklets highlighting the SP’s “contribution” to the hill state’s formation.
State Congress chief Kishore Upadhyay claimed that the grand old party was the one which actually paved the way for the Uttarakhand formation movement’s initiation.
“Perhaps the movement wouldn’t have started had I along with others (Congressmen) not made (statehood movement’s pioneer) Indramani Badoniji’s delegation meet then Union minister for internal security Rajesh Pilotji in 1993 to raise the demand for a separate state. I had even sat on a 12-day hunger strike at the All India Congress Committee headquarters in Delhi to escalate the demand within the party,” Upadhyay said, alleging that the BJP was hurting the sentiments of the people by “politicising the issue”.
Meanwhile, people who were involved in the statehood movement feel that parties have done nothing for the region’s development over the years.
“They’ve only been playing with our sentiments and politicising the issue,” Kamala Pant, who took part in the statehood agitations and now heads Swaraj Abhiyan in Uttarakhand, said.