Dehradun, October 7
Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna said today that the Congress would win the Tehri byelection despite a negative campaign by the BJP. He said the results of the Sitarganj bypoll, where he had won by a record margin, would be repeated.
Addressing mediapersons here today, Bahuguna said the result of the Tehri bypoll remained a matter of prestige for the ruling Congress and for himself.
He alleged that BJP leaders were indulging in a negative and false campaign against the state government. “Their only campaign is inflation and corruption which are devoid of facts,” he said.
The CM said as far as corruption was concerned, it was easier to vilify and malign someone than prove the charges. Giving the examples of the Bofors and the 2G Spectrum cases, Bahuguna said the BJP did create a lot of ruckus but finally it had been proved that no kickbacks were taken either by Rajiv Gandhi or more recently by P. Chidambaram.
“The BJP has become an expert in the vilification campaigns without debating the issues raised by them on the floor of Parliament,” he said.
On the rising prices of petroleum products, Bahuguna said the international prices of petroleum products had risen sharply leading to the increase in the prices of petrol, diesel and LPG.
He said the Uttarakhand Government had cut VAT on diesel and petrol in the state to offset the price hike. Similarly, on the issue of capping of LPG cylinders, the CM said the state government had decided to give three more cylinders to each family making it nine subsidised cylinders in a year. “ I have written to the Prime Minister to provide at least 12 cylinders per family per year to the hill states so that forests could be saved,” he said.
Regarding providing rice at subsidised rates to the APL people in the state, Bahuguna said the Centre had given a quota of 50,000 MT of rice which would be provided to APL families at the rate of Rs 6 per kg.
The Chief Minister also blamed the previous BJP government in the state on the dismal situation of power generation. He alleged that in the past five years, the BJP government had failed to produce any power but rather stopped two major projects on the Bhagirathi river.
“There were irregularities in the allotment of smaller hydropower projects during the regime of Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, which delayed power generation and has now forced us to purchase power at the rate of Rs 12 per unit to meet the demand,” he said.
He announced that his government would start the process of competitive bidding for these smaller hydroelectric project worth 900 MW. “We have asked IIT, Roorkee, to study the environmental impact of these projects and by the year end, we will be able to allot these smaller hydroelectric projects that will start generating power within two years,” he added.
He claimed that he had got clearance of three more hydroelectric projects worth 630 MW from the Union Government. “ I am open to debate with any of the BJP leaders, including their three previous Chief Ministers, on the issue of power generation in the state. I am trying to sort the mess created by the previous BJP state government in the past five years and it was comically on the part of BJP leaders to question the Congress-led state government on development front,” Bahuguna said.
On the rehabilitation of disaster-affected people, the Chief Minister said his government had increased the relief and rehabilitation package by 100 per cent. "Uttarakhand is the only state in the country to provide such an enhanced relief package to the disaster-affected people," he said.
Bahuguna said he would meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to demand a package for the immediate rehabilitation of 90 disaster-prone villages in the state. “ The previous BJP government had failed to provide any succour to such villages,” he said.
On the candidature of his son Saket, he said his son, who was a Supreme Court lawyer and a corporate honcho, could be considered a “baccha” as claimed by the BJP.
“The BJP has only used the erstwhile royal family of Tehri for electoral gains and the royal family which represented the Tehri seat for more than 45 years also did nothing for the people of Tehri. Can they show one development scheme started by them,” he asked.
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