Celebrated American writer, Mark Twain once famously quoted, “Facts are stubborn things but statistics are pliable.” This really seems the case with the often repeated and exalted claim of authorities on 100 percent electrification status in Uttarakhand, ostensibly achieved under the ‘Saubhagya’ scheme. The data of the Election Commission on electricity connection in the booths deflates this claim of total electrification in Uttarakhand. As per the commission, there are 313 booths in Uttarakhand which are devoid of power connection. In Pauri district which has produced maximum number of chief ministers, political leaders and other prominent personalities, there are 60 booths where the polling parties had to bear with the absence of power. Similarly in Dehradun, the provisional state capital, the number of such booths is 55 as per the data of election commission. If this is not enough, the commission’s statistics reveal that there are hundreds of such booths in the state where the polling parties had to trek for several kilometres from the nearest road to reach them. This provides food for thought to the Babus, who love to pat their own backs while doodle over data sitting in plush offices.
The people of Uttarakhand, who voted enthusiastically on Thursday, witnessed a highly skewed election campaigns this time around. Flush with resources and confidence of having been in power at both centre and state, the BJP’s campaign was aggressive and planned while Congress party hit hard by resource crunch looked out of sorts in its campaign. Only Rajasthan deputy chief minister, Sachin Pilot and Sharmistha Mukherjee, the daughter of former President Pranab Mukherjee held public meetings apart from Rahul Gandhi in Uttarakhand in support of Congress candidates. In stark contrast, the BJP carpet bombed the state with its galaxy of star campaigners led by PM Modi and Amit Shah holding public meetings in every nook and corner of the state. The Congress party’s assertion on lack of resources is understandable but its leaders cannot escape from the brazen reality that the party has been on the right side of power for most periods of time during which instead of building the organisation of party most of its leaders concentrated on personal aggrandisation.
In the clamour of elections no one is appearing to pay any heed to the quandary of the state government employees who have not received the salary for the month of March this year. The salary which is usually disbursed on the first day of the month is yet to reach the bank accounts of the beleaguered employees. The plight of the employees is understandable as April is one of the most taxing months of the year as they have to pay through their nose the school fees and other charges levied by unbridled school owners for their children. This inexplicable delay is being blamed on new salary software which was recently installed by department of finance. This software which has allegedly gone awry is said to have precipitated the crisis. To their credit, the employee associations known to be highly emotive on the issues like salary delays are keeping mum as the government machinery is busy with the enormous task of holding the elections.
Friday, 12 April 2019 | Gajendra Singh Negi | Dehradun