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Candid Notes

Friday, 09 July 2021 | Gajendra Singh Negi | Dehradun

Phony Restrictions  

The surge of tourists witnessed recently in the popular destinations of the Himalayan state has brought smiles back on the faces of those associated with the industry and has also created an ‘all is well’ illusion among the general public.  With the restrictions for the Covid-19 still being claimed to be enforced by the government albeit with some relaxations and the compulsion of negative report of RT-PCR test still persisting one wonders how hordes of merrymakers from other states are finding an easy entry into the state. The tour operators are reportedly providing fake RT-PCR test reports to the visitors with some of them even including it in their package. Those manning the border check posts too are said to be sympathetic towards the tourism industry of the state by allowing unrestricted entry to the tourists with some greasing of palms. One understands the tormenting time the tourism industry went through during the pandemic period but their plight pales when compared with the horrendous period during which critically ill patients were denied admissions in the hospitals and when getting oxygen cylinder for gasping near and dear ones was nothing less than a nightmare. Letting off the guard could be suicidal at the time when the dreaded delta plus variant of Covid-19 has made an entry into the state and with a vast majority of the population still to be vaccinated.

New Equations

The decision of the BJP high command to effect a change in leadership in Uttarakhand -for second time in four months- wherein a young Pushkar Singh Dhami has been put in the driver’s seat coupled with replacing veteran ‘Nishank’ with Ajay Bhatt in the Union council of Ministers has resulted in a paradigm shift in power balance in the saffron party from Garhwal to Kumaon region. Now with both the CM and the union minister coming from Kumaon, the Garhwal region which accounts for 41 seats in the state assembly of 70 appears neglected but those who are well versed with the style of functioning of the saffron party point out that the reason for this changed focus stemmed from the belief in the party that it is on a weak wicket in the Kumaon region. Now Dhami, Bhatt duo would try to corner Congress stalwart Harish Rawat in his home turf of Kumaon and the battery of leaders which includes the likes of Nishank, TSR I and II, Vijay Bahuguna, Anil Baluni, Satpal Maharaaz, Harak Singh and Dhan Singh would take care of the Garhwal bastion in the upcoming assembly election.

Kejri’s Avtar

The soul of Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal appears to have entered into Harak Singh Rawat, the powerful cabinet minister of Uttarakhand. After becoming the first minister of Power (this portfolio has traditionally been kept by the chief ministers), a benevolent Harak announced that 100 units of electricity every month would be given free of cost to the consumers in the state. By making the populist promulgation the mercurial minister has not only taken the wind out of the sails of Arivind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party which had talked about implementing ‘Delhi model’ in Uttarakhand but also has upstaged Harish Rawat who too had given ‘free electricity’ promise once his party comes to power in the state. In his first meeting with the Babus of his new department, Harak asserted that he would make the state power corporation a profit making body, would initiate the process of recruitment and provide free electricity to the people. It appears he has a magic wand in his possession which will ensure profitability and populism at the same time.

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