Congress cold to Harish Rawat’s promise of free power, water in Uttarakhand
Congress leaders in Uttarakhand said that providing free power and water was not the party’s stand and the poll manifesto is yet to be prepared.Updated: Nov 19, 2020, 17:11 IST
The Congress unit in Uttarakhand has distanced itself from the promise of former chief minister Harish Rawat that the government will provide 25 litres of drinking water and 100 to 200 units of electricity free every month to people in the state if the party comes to power in the 2022 assembly polls.
The cold reception seemed to highlight the friction in the Uttarakhand unit of the Congress despite Rawat’s standing as a major leader.
Harish Rawat, who is also a Congress national general secretary and party’s in-charge for Punjab, said he had made the announcement of free power and drinking water to people given the robust power generation network which has been developed in the state over the years and good availability of water resources in the Himalayan state.
“I am firm on my stand as we have the capacity to provide free electricity in the range of 100 to 200 units. Our power distribution and generation capacity has developed over the years to the extent that we can provide it to people free to some extent. In case of drinking water supply, with the hill state having good water sources, we can provide 25 litres of pure water daily to each family free of charge. All this is possible”, he said.
When questioned about the Congress leadership saying that it is not the party’s stand and the poll manifesto is yet to be prepared, Rawat said, “Ideas are first floated and then made part of the manifesto. In this case also, I will present it before the party, discuss it with them, so that these could be made part of the manifesto,” he said.
The Congress unit in the state has distanced itself from Rawat’s stand, emphasising that the party has not yet discussed the issue.
Pritam Singh, Congress state president said Rawat is a senior leader of the party who has come up with this idea. “But as a party president in the state, I can tell you it is not the party stand, nor has the party come up with a manifesto yet. As the idea has been floated, in the coming time we will discuss it in the party and take appropriate action,” he said.
Suryakant Dhasmana, Congress vice president in Uttarakhand cautioned against unrealistic promises.
“Our poll manifesto committee will decide what promises the party needs to make. The party will discuss this idea also, but we have to ensure making only such promises, which the party can fulfil in future. Otherwise, it will be very embarrassing for the party”, he said
The ruling BJP was unsparing in criticising Rawat for the promising free power and water.
Bansidhar Bhagat, state BJP president said Congress is expert at making empty slogans, aimed at misleading people, especially when the elections are near.
“The state is not in a position to do such things at present. Congress is desperate and it is showing. I want to ask Harish Rawat what he has done for the state when he was in power. Now, he is making empty promises to the people. Congress needs to do some introspection first”, he said.