‘We’re not UP, we’re a near zero crime state’

India Today - - STATES -

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.

RAJEEV KALA

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