Permanent capital issue: Analysts unimpressed with BJP’s voice for Gairsain
BJP state unit chief Ajay Bhatt’s statement indicating that Gairsain could be made Uttarakhand’s permanent capital seems to have cut no ice with analysts with most of them stating that the assertion was made with an eye on the next general electiondehradun Updated: Feb 04, 2018 21:45 IST
BJP state unit chief Ajay Bhatt’s statement indicating that Gairsain could be made Uttarakhand’s permanent capital seems to have cut no ice with analysts with most of them stating that the assertion was made with an eye on the next general election.
They felt the statement was also aimed to placate the people in view of the agitation for a permanent capital spreading in the state.
Analysts were reacting to Bhatt’s statement indicating that Gairsain could be commissioned as the permanent capital which has been eluding the mountain state right since its inception in 2000.
The statement came almost a year after the BJP promised that, if came to power, it would declare Gairsain as the state’s summer capital.
The saffron party made the promise in its vision document for development released ahead of the 2017 assembly poll.
Bhatt now stated that the BJP’s promise to make Gairsain as a summer capital could lead to its commissioning as a permanent capital.
“Our government is in the process of developing Gairsain as a summer capital. It is a step forward for its (Gairsain) formation as the state’s permanent capital,” he said in an interview with HT on Sunday.
Bhatt’s statement came at a time when the BJP government is preparing its second annual budget to be tabled in the assembly at its budget session likely to be convened in the Vidhan Bhawan at Gairsain in March.
“The Vidhan Bhawan building, a mini secretariat and hostels etc for legislators and officials coming up at Gairsain is a part of our move to develop that hill town as the state’s summer capital,” he said, adding it was a the step forward for formation of the hill town as the permanent capital in keeping with the popular sentiment.
The statement left political observers unimpressed while drawing sharp criticism from the opposition Congress.
Analysts were unanimous that Bhatt’s statement was aimed to woo the people ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, for which hardly a little more than a year is left.
Prof MM Semwal of HNB Garhwal (Central) University dubbed Bhatt’s statement indicating that Gairsain could be made a permanent capital as insignificant.
“Such a statement would carry weight had it come from the government or from the chief minister,” he said, adding Bhatt’s statement was made with an eye on the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
“It only aims at wooing highlanders who have been demanding that Gairsain, the hill state’s centrally located town, be made its permanent capital,” Semwal said.
“Such statements are often made ahead of each election by the BJP and the Congress that have been alternately ruling the state since its formation in 2000.”
His colleague Prof MC Sati said Bhatt’s statement was “aimed to placate the people who have been agitating across the hills demanding that Gairsain be commissioned as a permanent capital.
Prof DR Purohit of HNB Garhwal (Central) University agreed that Bhatt issued the statement “under pressure from the agitation for a permanent capital, which has now spread almost all across the hills.”
According to him, the BJP and the Congress deliberately left the issue of permanent capital untouched all these years fearing that a decision on that would end up accentuating the hill-plain divide.
Semawal said highlanders have been demanding that Gairsain be made a permanent capital that development picks up pace in the long-neglected hills.
The Congress, however, blamed the BJP for leaving the Gairsain issue unresolved. “They (BJP) could have resolved the issue, if they wished, as they were ruling both at the Centre and in the state when the latter came into being,” said Mathura Dutt Joshi, chief spokesperson of the state Congress .
Bhatt refuted the allegation saying the BJP government couldn’t then take a call on the permanent capital owing to the fund crunch facing the state.