Will make Gairsain permanent state Capital and shift it there by 2024 if Cong elected to power: Harish Rawat
The Pioneer Talk
If the Congress is elected to power in the 2022 Assembly elections, not only will it declare Gairsain the permanent state capital but also shift the capital there by 2024. Former chief minister and AICC general secretary Harish Rawat said this in an online interaction held as part of Pioneer Talk initiative on Tuesday.
Rawat said that by declaring Gairsain the summer capital, the State government under chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat had “abducted the aspirations of the state’s people midway in a manner that will only increase problems”. He said, “We were working on a planned agenda but now the state has a provisional capital and a summer capital. We have decided that if elected to power in 2022, we will declare Gairsain the permanent capital and shift the capital there by 2024. The Congress government had done all the infrastructural work there, the only work remaining was construction of the secretariat. For that too, I had allocated required funds of which Rs seven crore had been given to the agency for constructing the secretariat. However, I did thank Trivendra as even the summer capital decision is a step forward provided the seat of governance is shifted to Gairsain. If the CM and chief secretary can start working from Gairsain, the CM should get credit for it otherwise he has acted akin to Bheeshma the way his actions had resulted in Mahabharat. The CM will face a similar fate in 2022 if he doesn’t take concrete action. Trivendra Singh Rawat is my younger brother and I wish him well. I also appreciate him specifically for two aspects. I appreciate his Uttarakhandi character and also think that he is stricter whereas I was a bit soft.” When asked about how he would rate the performance of the state government, Rawat said that he will rate the performance when the CM and chief secretary start working from Gairsain.
On the issue of Covid-19, the senior Congress leader said that considering the crisis situation, he had not been saying it openly but only cautioning the government. “However, the fact is that they have failed miserably. The Centre’s steps have failed like the lockdown, the nation’s economy and the common man are under great stress. Our leader Rahul Gandhi had cautioned in February but then the government was rejecting such talk and busy with Trump. The government became aware after the situation worsened. We were asking that labourers be given cash assistance but this was not done. Now after getting the workers home, they are struggling to get them to the factories. The government says there is a package and loans are being given but I don’t know how. The government is utterly confused and has mismanaged the situation though it can still be corrected by taking all together,” said Rawat. Regarding the state’s performance,he said that though the government has become more active in the past fortnight, it would have been better if more focus was laid on testing. He said that he had been suggesting from the start that Covid hospitals and quarantine centres should be made at all entry points of the state as these cannot be made in rural areas to where the migrants returned from various states. Now the government has made quarantine centres in schools in rural areas facing water supply and toilet issues. He stressed that the CM needs to tackle the economic distress. “I have been suggesting focus on rejuvenating agriculture, forestry and allied sectors to generate employment but have not received any response from anyone in the government. I had also suggested focus on the pharmaceutical industry, micro enterprises and tourism,” he said.
Regarding the Kedarnath reconstruction project, Rawat said that the current government had done nothing beyond what had been done by the previous Congress government. Referring to the all-weather road, he said that there is actually no such project. “It is just the Char Dham Yatra road improvement project. When the Prime Minister had unveiled the foundation for this project, I had presided over the function as the CM,” said Rawat. Regarding the Char Dham Devsthanam Management Board, the ex-CM said that the Congress doesn’t meddle with traditions.The BJP has tampered with traditions established by Adi Shankaracharya and that too without consulting the Teerth Purohits and other stakeholders. Replying to whether the NDA government is sacrificing the environment for development, he stressed on the need for balance, adding that diseases like Covid had affected those states more where the ecology was damaged.
Regarding the Indo-China tensions, Rawat questioned why were talks on between the two nations after the government had earlier stated that the Chinese had not entered Indian territory. He stated that though China is an equal, it realises that India is strong and has an experienced and effective military. Rawat also said that most of the arms, fighter jets, missiles and other defence equipment had been facilitated during the tenure of the Congress at the centre. Referring to the MoU signed between the Congress and the Communist Party of China in 2008, Rawat said that efforts to improve relations between the two nations have been going on for decades. “We had also tried at the party level to improve relations with China and there is nothing new in that. From Jawaharlal Nehru to many other PMs who succeeded him, all made efforts to improve relations with China. PM Modi did the most- meeting the Chinese president Xi Jinping more than other Indian PMs.” Responding to various allegations levelled at the Congress he said that the BJP itself is “flea-ridden but nitpicking when it comes to others”.
Rawat also expressed concern over India’s relations with its neighbouring nations. Regarding Rahul Gandhi, the veteran Congressman said that he had proven himself and should be made the party president. Eventually when the Congress comes to power, the party workers will decide the leadership and they support Rahul Gandhi. Referring to the 2022 Assembly polls, Rawat said that these would be contested under the party’s leadership. “I am a party soldier, old and slower now. We have many youngsters but if asked by the leadership, I will also contest the elections,” he said.
Wednesday, 01 July 2020 | PNS | Dehradun
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