Friday, 15 October 2021 | Gajendra Singh Negi
By abandoning the saffron camp along with his MLA son who still is a political greenhorn, ahead of the crucial assembly elections the soft-spoken Yashpal Arya has brought smiles on the faces of Congress party sympathisers and has jolted BJP bandwagon in Uttarakhand. In a routine post joining exercise at AICC headquarters on Akbar Road, New Delhi, Arya uttered familiar clichés with keywords ‘home coming’ and ‘ was getting stifled’ to the media persons. It must be recalled that Arya who was a powerful cabinet minister in Harish Rawat government had left Congress just ahead of assembly elections in 2017 to join BJP and eventually found him in the winning side. He enjoyed the benefit of the cabinet minister to the hilt in the last four and half years and has now again affected a political somersault. A victory of Congress at the hustings in 2022 would catapult Arya to a political meteorologist par excellence in the league of legendary late Ram Vilas Paswan who always correctly gauged the direction in which the winds are blowing.
The ongoing power crisis in the country triggered by a shortfall in the supplies of coal to the thermal power plants is having a bearing on Uttarakhand also. The Uttarakhand Power Corporation Limited (UPCL) purchases about four to five million units of electricity daily to meet the demand in the state. This is ironic in itself since the state has a vast potential of hydro electric power that apart from fulfilling local needs can provide surplus power to other states also. However myopic planners in collaboration with overzealous self proclaimed environmental crusaders have ensured that the Himalayan state remains dependent on others to meet its power requirement. Incidentally 32 hydro power projects in various stages of completion have been stalled on orders of the court in the small state with a forest cover of over 70 per cent. Hundreds of Crores of rupees of taxpayers money is lying wasted and getting rusted in these projects which if completed would have changed the power scenario of the state. One hopes that the likes of Kejriwal, Harish Rawat and Harak Singh Rawat who are vying with one another in offering free electricity to the people of state would spare a thought for the ways of tapping the real potential of rivers of Uttarakhand.
The grapevine making rounds in the political circles of the Himalayan state is that one more MLA of BJP was scheduled to ditch the party along with father son duo of Yashpal Arya and Sanjeev Arya and was slated to join the Congress party but he dithered at the last moment. A young leader of the saffron party based in the national capital who has a penchant for seeking credit for everything which is worth for the state on the strength of his friends in the media claimed that he saved the Cow from the jaws of Congress at the last minute. It is believed that the impatient MLA was offered a bait of ministerial berth getting vacant after the defection of Arya to Congress. Interestingly many in the saffron party are throwing their weight to grab the single vacancy in Dhami cabinet so that they can enjoy the cream of power albeit for only three months.