Lok Sabha elections

Lok Sabha Election: Will the results from Uttarakhand be surprising?

the question of original residence, justice to Ankita, theft of Kedarnath's gold. Questions like the exploitation of mountains and Agniveer among others remain the main issues in the mountains and are creating problems for the BJP

The elections being held in Uttarakhand on April 19 may yield surprising results. Although ‘experts’ are giving 5 seats to BJP but the reality is that BJP has nothing to say. People are not ready to vote in the name of Ram temple in Ayodhya, let alone Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh, but it seems that the fans of BJP are considering him as the captain of their boat. In fact, it is wrong to think that BJP is invincible in Uttarakhand, but such a situation has arisen due to the tired leadership of Congress, which has been unable to raise the issues of the public with full vigor on time. Narendra Modi’s ‘relationship’ with Uttarakhand was continuously maintained in BJP, no matter what the form was, but the Congress leadership never came here seriously. Such people were imposed from Delhi on Uttarakhand who do not even have knowledge of the sensitivities and local issues there. BJP has both resources and power but their overconfidence may prove costly for them. There are five parliamentary seats in Uttarakhand but on every seat, BJP has to fight to win. In fact, Congress is still clearly lacking in leadership. The leaders who had enjoyed the pleasures of power could not provide any inspirational leadership in Uttarakhand. Harish Rawat was definitely an identity but his era is now gone and in the process of ‘establishing’ his son and daughter in politics, he is limited to serving them.

The most interesting contest is on two seats in Uttarakhand. Congress has fielded former state party chief Ganesh Godiyal as its candidate for the Pauri Garhwal seat. Ganesh Godiyal is popular among the public and is overpowering the Bharatiya Janata Party’s imposed candidate from Delhi who has the power, money power and open support of Delhi’s court journalists. To woo the Rajput voters in this parliamentary constituency, Rajnath Singh was also called, who said that the people of Uttarakhand are not just electing an MP, but understand it themselves. This means that Anil Baluni is a prominent courtier of Modi’s court and hence he should not be asked what he will do for Uttarakhand or what he has done. Well, the question should also be asked to the other person who is the MP from here as to what he did. If people vote only for the party or Modi, then why was the former MP removed and why are his failures not accounted for by the current candidate? The so-called big leaders of Congress have still not been able to accompany Ganesh Godiyal. Harish Rawat is stuck in Haridwar due to his son’s attachment and Pritam Singh is not such a leader whose name has any impact on the people of the hilly region. Well, Ganesh Godiyal is giving a good fight and if people vote wisely then he can win the election.

Congress candidate from Almora Pithoragarh seat, Pradeep Tamta, has already represented this seat and has also been a member of Rajya Sabha once. Pradeep has a strong anti-caste and anti-communalist mindset and has always been associated with pro-people concerns. BJP candidate Ajay Tamta has nothing but Modi ji’s picture to show. Pithoragarh area is a border area and the number of Scheduled Caste and Tribe voters is high here and the track record of BJP in that regard has not been good. The budget for Scheduled Castes and Tribes in Uttarakhand is never spent in full. There are also reports that it is used for other purposes. There were neither land reforms in the state nor any special concessions to this class of people. Questions are also raised on their reservation. Now the truth beyond four hundred has started coming to light by the leaders of BJP in Uttar Pradesh and other states. The Prime Minister had said that even if Baba Saheb Ambedkar comes, the Constitution cannot be changed, but the reality is that BJP and a large section of Hindutva never consider this Constitution as the soul of India and there is no need to change it. Is an advocate. Therefore, regarding the crossing of four hundred rupees, the BJP is explaining to its courtiers and devotee cadre that it needs four hundred rupees to change the Constitution. What is the need to change the Constitution when the government is making changes as per its wish?

Uttarakhand Lok Sabha Elections 2024 BJP Congress

Well, Uttarakhand has an opportunity to ask questions in these elections. The biggest question is who wrote the story of the destruction of Uttarakhand in the name of development? Who gave the contract for trading in the sacred rivers of Uttarakhand? What happened to the people of Raini village? What was done to resolve the crisis at Joshimath? Who permitted to loot the water, forests and land of Uttarakhand in the name of road and railway network? Was the Uniform Civil Code a demand of Uttarakhand or was it brought to divert attention from the questions of land laws and original residence? The questions of consolidation and sealing in the Terai are very important but what is the point in discussing it every question has been linked to Muslims and made as if they are coming to Uttarakhand and grabbing the lands. The government should see in whose hands the illegal hotels and resorts etc. in Uttarakhand have been in the last 20 years. Take out its data and put it before everyone and tell how many of these are in the hands of the people of the mountains. Everyone knows how much land Ramdev has and he cannot take it without the government’s permission. The Supreme Court’s comment is a clear comment on the working of the Uttarakhand government and its officials.

The government is silent on the question of employment in Uttarakhand. The incidents of paper leaks could not be stopped. Agniveer Yojana has ruined the dreams of thousands of youth of Uttarakhand who had the passion to serve the country by joining the army and also wanted to build their future, but what a shame BJP leaders would have said something on these questions. Rajnath Singh shamelessly said that this scheme will continue. How much these leaders betray the youth of their state for the sake of their son and to save their chair and people are eager to see them. The repeated question of the construction of the Ram temple has no significance in Uttarakhand. It does not seem that Ram Temple will be able to attract many people in the state which has historically been the abode of Shiva and where all our important religious places are located. People of Uttarakhand do not want to take any knowledge regarding food habits and lifestyle from the babas of those areas who would tell them that till now they were not eating the right food. The people of Uttarakhand belong to the Shiva tradition and are generous and do not compromise with their self-respect.

Today the people of Uttarakhand are also asking this question to the government, who are the ones donating brass in the name of gold plating on Baba Kedar? If this issue had happened any other time, the BJP would have organized a movement on it across the country and would have traded their votes by making it a question of insulting Hindu Gods and Goddesses, but today the incident of gold missing from the Kedarnath temple in Uttarakhand or the place where the gold was found. But the entire incident of blasphemy was forgotten by the media. BJP shamelessly suppressed the entire news. At the time when there was talk of coating the temple with gold or offering gold letters in Kedar Dham, the priests there had opposed it. He said that this would be playing with the historicity of this historical temple but the state government allowed this to happen despite the opposition. Now we kept silent about this when it was later revealed that what was publicized as gold was brass. No action is taken against those who play with such a great faith of Hindus. If the news coming on this subject is wrong then the government should tell what is the reality. Wasn’t this gold also like an electoral bond?

The perpetrators of the atrocities against Uttarakhand’s daughter Ankita Bhandari have been supported by the BJP government. There is so much anger among the people in the entire mountain that it cannot be made to disappear by giving Modi’s guarantee. After all, who are the murderers of Ankita Bhandari and why is the government saving them? Ankita Bhandari’s question has now turned into a difference of opinion between mountains and plains. The formation of the state of Uttarakhand was born out of the question of the identity of the Himalayas but gradually it is disappearing. The resort culture in the mountains is owned by big-money people who are mainly from the plains. Big hotels and resorts are being built by cutting rivers and mountains. The youth of the hills are migrating and a migration commission was also formed for them but nothing happened. Even today, more than 2000 villages in the mountains are called ghost villages. In Uttarakhand, the population of hilly areas is continuously decreasing, whereas in comparison, the population of plain areas is increasing every year at a great pace, due to which, whenever delimitation is done in the future, the representation of hilly areas in the State Legislative Assembly will be less and the representation of plain areas will be less. areas will increase.

This may cause widespread dissatisfaction in the future. There is no promise from the BJP government to the hill people that this will not happen. In Ankita’s case also the gap between the mountains and plains of Uttarakhand is visible. People in the mountains believe that the people in the plains behave badly because of their money and look at the openness in the mountains of Uttarakhand as if someone is inviting them to exploit them. In the Himalayan regions, men and women work together and the situation of sexual violence and law and order is generally much better than in the plains. Therefore, the Himalayas are shocked by the atrocities on Ankita Bhandari because such incidents do not happen there. BJP has not been able to give any satisfactory answer to the people of the hills in this regard because the son of a senior leader of their party is accused of this and the party is completely protecting him. Therefore, the party is silent on this concern of the mountains and to divert attention from this question of mountains versus plains, it played the Hindu-Muslim card which was successful to some extent, yet the question of original residence, justice to Ankita, theft of Kedarnath’s gold. Questions like the exploitation of mountains and Agniveer among others remain the main issues in the mountains and are creating problems for the BJP. When the state of Uttarakhand was formed, there was consensus across the Himalayas that Gairsain would become its capital. But now MLAs, leaders and officials do not want them to leave Dehradun and go there. Earlier, a session of the Legislative Assembly used to be held there but the government did not allow that too because it was ‘cold there’. The reality is that big leaders and officials do not want to live in such a place where the public can easily communicate with them. Today’s ministers and MLAs just want to run away by showing helicopters waving to the public and greeting them from a distance.

Uttarakhand Lok Sabha Elections 2024 BJP Congress Ankita Bhandari
Courtesy: NDTV

By making Garsen the capital, many myths about the capital could have been broken. It would have been such a capital if it had been built, that MLAs, Ministers and Governors could have sat and talked to each other and they could have talked to the public 24 hours without big security and any frills, but today’s power is not only capitalist, it is also feudal. There is also a place where red lights and huge security show one’s status and these things have become normalized which is visible in rod shows etc. where big leaders appear as ‘Messiahs’ and the ‘helpless’ public waits for them for hours. Perhaps we could have ended this messianic politics with the concept of ‘Gair San’ but in the glare of power, the leaders do not want the public to meet them easily. You can also see the gap between the plains and the mountains in such a way that most of the ‘national’ leaders held their meetings in the plains of Uttarakhand and could not find time to go up into the mountains. And this is probably because big rallies are difficult in the mountains. There can be general meetings and ‘big leaders’ have become accustomed to addressing crowds of lakhs, hence they do not want to work so hard for 5 seats.

There is widespread dissatisfaction among the people in Uttarakhand but the Congress Party does not have any inspiring leadership. Harish Rawat has lost his battle and is now only fighting to establish his son. He should have campaigned in the state but he is not able to do so. Congress Party candidates Ganesh Godiyal and Pradeep Tamta are certainly giving good competition in their constituencies and there is a possibility of winning the seat. But the seat of Uttarakhand whose results can be decisive for the entire state is Tehri Garhwal seat from where BJP candidate and its queen Mala Raj Lakshmi Shah is in the election. Although Congress has given one of its candidates here, he is not seen in the mask. Tehri’s seat has become a topic of discussion across the country because young candidate Bobby Panwar has created a headache for the BJP. 26-year-old Bobby Panwar comes from a lower middle-class background and lost his father in his childhood. His mother is an Anganwadi worker and in the last few years, he has emerged as the voice of the youth of Uttarakhand. He protested against the paper leak along with the youth of the entire state due to which many fake cases were registered against him. Bobby Panwar is a symbol of the ongoing change in Uttarakhand. BJP considered Uttarakhand as its invincible stronghold but Uttarakhand can give a big blow to the BJP. The leadership of the Congress Party should have understood this wind of change and should have immediately supported youth like Bobby, due to which he would have got the goodwill of the youth in the entire state. Congress will not be able to do anything in Tehri and hence if with time it withdraws its candidate in favour of Bobby Panwar, then not only will it be difficult for BJP to win the seat but an important chapter will also be written in history of Uttarakhand. Looking at the campaign so far, it seems that the people of Tiyari are following the example of Bobby Panwar. Earlier he was not considered to be in the fight, but in the last few days, his road show and the enthusiasm of the youth is showing that if his supporters reach the voting booths, then the monarchy of Tehri will not be able to stand in front of the democracy.

Tehri election is important because it will be a decisive battle of the people against the monarchy. We have to understand that this is the same monarchy against which the Praja Parishad movement was launched and people like Sridev Suman were martyred. Remember that the monarchy of Tehri was initially not ready to merge with the Indian state and only after the public revolt, it was forced to merge finally on August 1, 1949, the Tehri state became a part of the Republic of India and a district of the state of Uttar Pradesh.

On 30 May 1930, thousands of people gathered at a place called Tiladi on the banks of Yamuna near Barkot to hold an Azad Panchayat against the dictatorship of the generals of the king of Tehri, instead of listening to the demands of the people, the king’s officials surrounded them with their soldiers. They surrounded them and opened fire on them. Tiladi is also called Jallianwala of Uttarakhand, in which statistics say, 18 people were killed but no trace of hundreds was found. The question is that, unfortunately, even today, people who remember Tiladi go to that place and pay their last respects, but the government made every effort to keep such an important place away from the public and forget it. I visited Tiladi in October last year. It was there that I came to know that Tiladi is known only for one day a year and the rest of the time there is no road to go there and you have to travel about one and a half kilometres on foot. And why such huge neglect of an important site? Vijay Pal Rawat, a local social and political activist, says that no member of the royal family has ever visited this place. Unfortunately, the same royal family has been represented here since independence. What could be a bigger tragedy than the fact that the royal family or their political representatives, far from opening their mouths on these questions, have not even tried to provide any documents etc. on such a heinous incident? When we can get the British to apologize for the Jallianwala incident or other incidents, then why does the royal family not open its mouth on these things? Why have the political and social elite of Uttarakhand kept the truth of Tiladi hidden? Who were the real culprits of Tiladi? Is this silence because the real villains among them, their people, do not want to discuss these questions anymore or they cleverly twist things? Therefore the time for change has come in Tehri. If a person from the general public wins these elections, it will be like the victory of the Praja Parishad due to whose pressure the king decided to merge with India.

Bobby Panwar’s victory from Tehri can usher in new politics in this Himalayan region, although there is still no space for a third party in the state and this has been proved many times. People have voted very wisely in Uttarakhand. In 1980, despite all the fanfare, Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna had won the Garhwal seat, although after that election, the infighting among Brahmin Thakurs had emerged here but perhaps it is gradually reducing again. In Uttarakhand, the population of the artisan community is also struggling for their rights, hence the question of not only Brahmin Thakurs is the question here but the question of Dalit backward people is also very important. One thing must be kept in mind and that is that without being influenced by ‘Delhi’s connection’ or ministerial post in Delhi or Delhi’s media, etc., people should choose the one who stands with them on their questions. This is the way for BJP in all the five seats of Uttarakhand. It will not be as easy as Delhi’s poll surveys are trying to tell us. People of Uttarakhand should think about their well-being and vote for the last ten years rather than following distracting news and surveys, then they will be in benefit. These elections are very important for the future of Uttarakhand and the country, so everyone should vote wisely and choose people who are not VIPs and understand the pain and suffering of the people for this it is necessary to stay away from misleading propaganda of the corrupt casteist media. Stay and vote without fear so that you can make the right decision which can strengthen your state and democracy.

Vidya Bhushan Rawat

The author is an activist and is currently working on Impact of Ganga and its tributaries in the Himalayas and the plains of India

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