‘We’re not UP, we’re a near zero crime state’
A former Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh activist, Trivendra Singh Rawat, 56, was sworn in as Uttarakhand’s eighth chief minister on March 18. The new CM, known to be a strong-willed politician, spoke to Akhilesh Pandey about his plans for the hill state. Excerpts from the interview: Q. You won on the promise of freeing Uttarakhand from fear and corruption. Yet four of your ministers have criminal cases against them.
A. There are no major criminal cases against them and there are certainly no corruption charges. The cases are a likely outcome of vendetta politics. We are having them checked and will take action if there is any truth to the charges.
Q. Are you withdrawing cases against legislators?
A. I have asked for withdrawal of mala fide cases against our workers and MLAs. If there are such cases against ministers, those too will be withdrawn.
Q. You hail from the Pauri district, which has been witnessing a massive exodus. How will you stop the migration? A. People from the district are well educated but there are few job opportunities. We are taking steps to address the problems, not just in Pauri, but in every district in the hills. Q. In Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath is emerging as a firebrand CM. Do you feel any pressure to emulate him?
A. UP is 20 times bigger than Uttarakhand, so its CM has to be 20 times more active. The states can’t be compared. We are a near zero crime state and law and order is not an issue here. That said, an improvement in UP’s crime situation would benefit us. Criminals from the state often take refuge here.