These Vil­lages Re­flect U’khand’s Big­gest Po­lit­i­cal Cri­sis

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics -

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

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