These Villages Reflect U’khand’s Biggest Political Crisis
Dehradun: Situated far away from each other, the villages of Sain and Gairsain virtually represent two opposite factors of Uttarakhand politics: migration and rehabilitation. While Sain is the ancestral village of new Army chief General Bipin Singh Rawat, Gairsain is seen as a symbol of the politics of hills in this state. Ironically, the hills are gradually losing their political importance in the state, in view of increasing migration from the region and the resultant fall in the number of voters there.
A part of Birmoli Gram Sabha, Sain is in Pauri district, which also accommodates the ancestral villages of two prominent persons of the country’s security establishment – national security adviser Ajit Doval (Ghiri Banelsyun) and Research and Analysis Wing chief Anil Dhasmana. Pauri is witnessing large-scale migration from the state’s hill parts. General Rawat’s uncle Bharat Singh Rawat and aunt Sushila Rawat are among the few people who live in Birmoli Gram Sabha. Birmoli is in Yamkeshwar assembly seat from where former CM and Lt General (retired) BC Khanduri’s daughter Ritu Khanduri is facing a tough battle against Congress nominee Shailendra Rawat.
“We are happy that new army chief Rawat is from our area. I hope that he may pave the way for increasing the quota of recruitments from our state,” said GD Gunjayal, who was present on Dugadda-Yamkeshwar road. His statement clearly indicated about voters’ concern for ensuring jobs for the youths of the area even at the cost of “migration”.
Situated about 272 km away from Dehradun in the hill district of Chamoli, Gairsain saw the construction of the state’s second assembly building under the Harish Rawatgovernment. This has automatically revived talks of an old demand for shifting the state capital to Gairsain, which is at the centre of Uttarakhand having two divisions, Garhwal and Kumaon. Although the Congress and BJP continue to promise about new ways to stop “migration” by equip- ping the villages in hills with necessary infrastructure in their election campaign, both camps avoid making an offer to elevate Gairsain’s status as the new capital of the hill state. Initially, Gairsain had attracted local traders to look for possible plots for setting up their business centres.
It was in the year 1992 when Kashi Singh Aeri, the then president of the Uttarakhand Kranti Dal, declared that Gairsain would be the capital of the hill state for which he was heading a movement.
Two-and-half decades later, the 2017 assembly polls are witnessing the shifting of the focus of both the mainstream political parties — Congress and BJP — from the hills to the plain/tarai belts of for their political gains. Post delimitation, it is the plain/tarai belts that suit the electoral mathematics of both political parties. As things stand today, these belts represent about half the assembly seats in the 70-member Uttarakhand assembly. Haridwar andUdhamsingh Nagar districts, which come under these belts, have 11 and 9 seats, respectively. Apart from the four seats of Nainital’s Tarai belt, Pauri Garhwal’s Kotdwar seat is also considered to be in the Tarai area.
Most of the 10 assembly seats of Dehradun district are in plain and Tarai regions.
So, it was not surprising to see a chief minister choice contesting from the two seats, Kichcha (Udhamsingh nagar) and Hardwar (rural) which are in plain belt.
General Rawat’s uncle Bharat Singh and aunt Sushila are among the few people who live in Birmoli Gram Sabha