Home » DEHRADUN DIARY Speaker’s remark on Gairsain lands Cong in row » DEHRADUN DIARY Speaker’s remark on Gairsain lands Cong in row
Uttarakhand Assembly Speaker Govind Singh Kunjwal causes a trouble for the state Congress government by demanding that Gairsain should be declared as the summer capital of the state following a decision by the state government to construct an Assembly building at Gairsain in Chamoli district of Garhwal.
The ruling state Congress government was trying to politically encash the emotional issue of constructing an Assembly building at Gairsain.
Interestingly, the state Congress government headed by Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna, after a stunning defeat in the Tehri Lok Sabha byelection in which the Chief Minister's son Saket Bahuguna lost in October 2012, decided to hold a Cabinet meeting at Gairsain on November 3, 2012.
Since the days of statehood agitation in the 1990s, Gairsain, a place in Chamoli district, was declared as the future capital of the proposed state by the statehood agitators. But after the creation of the new state on November 9, 2000, Dehradun was made as the provisional capital
of the state.
The interim state government formed a commission to suggest a place for the permanent capital which got many extensions. The report was finally submitted during the previous BJP government, but the state government failed to take any concrete decision on the emotional issue.
It is a practical reality that while the statehood agitators and people in the hills demand capital of the hill state in the hills and that too at Gairsain, a majority of people reside in the Terai region of the state, particularly in Dehradun, Haridwar and Udham Singh Nagar districts. With migration from the hilly areas, under new delimitation of Assembly constituencies, the number of Assembly seats in the Terai region has increased as compared to the hilly areas.
The two mainstream parties, the Congress as well as the BJP, were weary of taking a stand on the issue. But Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna decided to construct a new Assembly building at Gairsain to win over the voters of the hilly areas in the run-up to the crucial 2014 Lok Sabha poll.
He argued that with the coming up of a new Assembly building, at least one assembly session will be held at Gairsain every year and it will fuel economic activity leading to the development of the hilly area. In a balancing act, the Chief Minister as well the Assembly Speaker also decided to construct another new Assembly building at the Raipur area of Dehradun since the present Assembly building was functioning from a makeshift building.
The opposition BJP finding itself losing on the issue demanded that Gairsain should be declared as the summer capital of the state. The state Congress government did not wanted to commit anything on the sensitive issue but the sudden demand by Assembly Speaker Govind Singh Kunjwal has put Chief Minister Bahuguna in an awkward situation.
Speaker Govind Singh Kunjwal, who belongs to Harish Rawat camp in the Congress, was all along with the Chief Minister Bahuguna on constructing two Assembly buildings at Gairsain and Dehradun.
It was interesting that whether his demand to make Gairsain as the summer capital has the tacit understanding of the Chief Minister or whether it was an attempt by the Harish Rawat camp to trouble the Chief Minister.
The issue has divided the state Congress leaders. While, one group welcomed the demand, the other group criticised the demand by the Speaker. On the other hand, the statehood agitators and the Uttarakhand Kranti Dal (UKD) have criticised the statement. They argued that Gairsain could only be the permanent capital as per the sentiments of the statehood agitators and any attempt to make it summer capital would make Dehradun as the permanent capital which would be unacceptable to them. The politics over the sensitive issue will continue to dominate in the year 2013.
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