Uttarakhand chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat.(HT File Photo)
Uttarakhand chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat.(HT File Photo)

Lok Sabha Elections 2019: Modi’s pro-poor schemes to help BJP win 5 seats, says Uttarakhand CM

Analysts say that the Trivendra Singh Rawat government’s role in executing various projects and the “pro-poor” schemes envisioned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi may help the BJP retain the five Lok Sabha seats in Uttarakhand.
Hindustan Times, Dehradun | By Deep Joshi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 18, 2019 04:42 PM IST

In the past two years since taking charge, chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat has been repeatedly commending his government for its “good show” on development front. So, will its performance really help the ruling BJP retain all the five Lok Sabha seats in the hill state in the coming general election?

Analysts seem to have mixed opinion on the state government’s performance in key areas like farm, health and education.

They, however, agree that its role in executing various projects and the “pro-poor” schemes envisioned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi may help the BJP retain the five Lok Sabha seats.

The party may also stand to gain by the patriotic fervour sweeping through the country after he permitted air strikes on terrorist training camps in Pakistan, say analysts.

Some of them feel the euphoria wouldn’t last much and the people will vote on the issue of delivery.

“Thanks to his (Modi) daring decision to allow air strikes on terrorist training camps in Pakistan and have the latter isolated globally has sent a positive message among the people across the country, which will help the BJP sweep all the five Lok Sabha seats in the general election,” said Prof MM Semwal of HNB Garhwal (central) University.

MC Joshi, a professor at Kumaon University’s Nainital campus, said the BJP’s move to build its campaign narrative around the nationalistic sentiment might pay it electoral dividends.

SK Kulshreshtha, a Dehradun-based retired professor, though begs to differ. “The euphoria over airstrikes being witnessed these days will subside soon. People will vote on issues like development and employment generation but the ruling BJP has nothing to show on those aspects,” said the academic whose opinion, however, drew mixed reactions from political observers.

Prof MC Sati of HNB Garhwal (central) University, for instance, felt that “barring a few exceptions” the Rawat government played its role reasonably well in implementing the centrally funded “pro-poor” schemes such as Skill India, Start-up India, apart from those pertaining to agriculture, horticulture and organic farming etc. “All such steps will help check forced migration from the hills,” said the academic.

His colleague, Prof YP Sundriyal, though begged to differ saying the hills have been emptying out fast because of the Rawat government’s failure to give boost to key sectors such as agriculture, horticulture health, and education etc.

Sundriyal though admitted that no graft charge having been reported against Rawat and his ministers would benefit the BJP in the coming general election.

Incidentally, he appeared to walk the talk on his policy of “zero tolerance for corruption” when his government suspended several officials apart from two IAS officers after their names figured in the 300 crore NH-74 scam.

Chief minister Rawat has often commended his government for its growth initiatives. Sharing his first report card with reporters recently he said the investments worth rupees one lakh twenty four thousand crore were expected to pour in following the last year’s Investors Summit held in Dehradun.

“Already, investments worth 40,000 crore are being made in the hills,” he said claiming that the government made all-round progress in key sectors such as health, education and farm.

Semwal, however, described as unprecedented the massive funds the Modi government “splurged on a small state like Uttarakhand”, be it the Chardham all-weather road project, the Rishikesh-Karnaprayag rail project or the Kedarpuri reconstruction project.

“That would certainly benefit the BJP in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls because the Congress never cared for infrastructure building in the hill state despite having ruled the country for decades,” he said.

The Rawat government though faces flaks for leaving the long pending issue of the hill state’s permanent capital unresolved.

“The people feel cheated because both parties that have been alternately ruling the state since its formation have avoided commissioning Gairsain as a permanent capital,” said Kamla Pant, a statehood activist referring to the BJP and the Congress.

Statehood activist Shekhar Pathak attributed their indecision on the issue to the “baseless fear they harbour that declaring the centrally located hill town (Gairsain) as a permanent capital might trigger a backlash from the plain districts”.

BJP state unit chief Ajay Bhatt, however, said civic amenities and health and education facilities were being developed at Gairsain in keeping with the party’s promise to declare it as the state’s summer capital.

The opposition Congress, however, described the state government’s performance in the past two years as “highly disappointing”. “Not only has this (Rawat) regime’s performance been highly disappointing but it also failed to deliver on all key sectors, be it farm, health or education despite one party (BJP) ruling both in the state and at the Centre,” state Congress president Pritam Singh alleged adding the same was the case with the centrally funded schemes.

He also hit out at the Rawat government for failing to appoint the Lokayukta (anti-graft ombudsman) despite the BJP’s promise ahead of the last assembly polls that the related law would be enacted within 100 days of coming to power.

Story Saved