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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Vijay Bahuguna sworn-in as CM

Uttarakhand Governor Margaret Alva administers
 oath of office to Vijay Bahuguna in Dehradun.
Dehradun - Former Mumbai High Court Judge Vijay Bahuguna, who is also an MP from Tehri, was today sworn in as the seventh Chief Minister of Uttarakhand with less than half the elected Congress MLAs present.
While the Congress has a strength of 32 MLAs in the 70-member Assembly, only 14 of them were present at the Raj Bhavan, where Governor Margaret Alva administered the oath of office to the son of former UP Chief Minister Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna.
The new Chief Minister happens to be the brother of the Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee President, Rita Bahuguna Joshi, and a first cousin of the outgoing BJP chief minister, Major General ( retd) BC Khanduri.

Pauri, March 13
Vijay Bahuguna today took oath as the seventh Chief Minister of Uttarakhand. He also became the third Chief Minister from Pauri Garhwal district in the last 12 years. If one also counts late Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna, a former Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh and Vijay Bahuguna’s father, Pauri district has produced four Chief Ministers.
Vijay Bahugana’s elevation as Chief Minister reaffirmed the supremacy of this hill district in the state politics. Both Chief Ministers in the last BJP government, BC Khanduri and Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, also hail from Pauri and have been contesting and winning the Assembly elections from the district.
Khanduri hails from Margadna village (now Radha Ballabh Puram) in Pauri and his ancestral house is situated in the mid of Pauri city. He has been representing the Pauri Garhwal constituency since 1991.
Nishank’s birthplace is Pinani village, 20 km from Pauri city, and before becoming active in the state politics he worked as an acharya (schoolteacher) in Saraswati Shishu Vidya Mandir schools in Pauri and Srinagar.
Vijay Bahuguna’s ancestral Buggaini village is 30 km from Pauri in the Srinagar Assembly constituency. His father Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna used to frequently visit his village and the people remembered the ‘young’ Vijay, his sister Rita and brother Shekhar accompanying their father.
In year 1991, when Vijay Bahuguna after his father’s death in 1989 decided to enter politics expressing his willingness to contest from his father’s traditional Pauri Garhwal constituency. But at the same time his maternal cousin, BC Khanduri, was also keen on making a political debut from his home constituency.
However, as Vijay Bahuguna was not given the party ticket and Satpal Maharaj was declared the Congress candidate from Pauri, Khanduri decided to contest from the constituency on a BJP ticket. This forced Vijay Bahuguna to look for another constituency and he finally moved to neighbouring Tehri Garhwal. He had to initially face the ‘outsider’ tag and the Tehri Garhwal king dynasty factor as Maharaj Manvendra Shah had defeated him in 1998, 99 and 2004 parliamentary elections.
But finally his intense fieldwork in the Tehri constituency and Maharaj Manvendra Singh’s death gave Vijay Bahuguna an opportunity and he defeated Raja Manujvenrda Shah, son of Manvendra Singh, in the 2007 byelections and later ace shooter Jaspal Rana in 2009.
Senior advocate Mukesh Chandra Nautiyal recalls that during a function organised by the Uttarakhand Pradesh Congress Committee at the city party office in 1991 to felicitate Vijay Bahuguna he had advised him (Vijay) to enter politics with a vision to work for the people of the state and follow in the footsteps of his father, who is known as “Himalaya Putra”.
Vijay Bahuguna had then told Nautiyal that he did not want the people to elect him due to his father’s political stature and asked them to vote for him on merit. Now, with two parliamentary wins to his credit, Vijay Bahuguna seems to have followed Nautiyal’s advice sincerely.

Nainital, March 13
More than two decades after his death, the legacy of Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna lives on as members of both his immediate family and even the extended one continue to be major political figures in UP and Uttarakhand.

It is not only his children Vijay Bahuguna and Rita Bahuguna Joshi, who are at the centrestage of politics, his nephew (sister’s son), Bhuvan Chandra Khanduri has just lost the post of the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand and also the polls for the membership to the state Assembly.
The manner in which the members have made forays into the world of politics can lead one to presume that the Bahuguna family is the first family in the state.
Bahuguna senior’s other protégés are amongst the key leaders in some of the other political parties in the state like the Samajwadi Party.
Both the siblings, Vijay and Rita, have made a niche for themselves in the world of Congress politics. While Vijay went on to win the last parliamentary poll on the Congress ticket in 2009 and was declared the Uttarakhand Chief Minister on Monday, Rita has led the state unit of the party in Uttar Pradesh.
Politicians in the state point out that the name Bahuguna carries a lot of political weght even today in both Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. Affiliates and protégés of Bahuguna senior can still be found amongst the top ranks in all political parties in the two states.
It was after the death of the stalwart, who had contested and represented the Congress as well as other Socialist forces like the Congress for Democracy that later merged into the Janata Party, Democratic Socialist Party and the Dalit Mazdoor Kisan Party, that his children had joined the Congress on being persuaded by none other than the former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.
Initially, both of them had left the Congress after a
brief stint.

While Vijay had gone back to the legal profession, Rita had gone on to join Mulayam Singh, who had also been a protégé of Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna.
Rita had then gone on to become the Mayor of Allahabad, a seat from where her father had begun his political journey by winning the Assembly election from Barah in 1952. She won as an Independent that was supported by the Samajwadi Party.
She had later contested a parliamentary poll on the party ticket in 1999 and then on a Congress ticket in 2009 unsuccessfully.
After her return to the Congress she led the All India Mahila Congress for several years before she was made the Uttar Pradesh president and entrusted with the job of reviving the party’s electoral fortunes in the state.

Revolt in Uttarakhand Congress on Day One
Dehradun/New Delhi, March 13
The sulking Union Minister of State for Agriculture, Food Processing and Parliamentary Affairs, Harish Rawat, said in New Delhi that he was told that the party would have to select an MLA as Chief Minister since getting an MP elected to the Assembly would be risky under the prevailing political situation. “ And then they went ahead and chose an MP,” exclaimed a bitter Rawat.
He was also upset at being told by a party general secretary that only six MLAs were with him. “ I did want to prove that the majority of the MLAs are with me,” he declared before asserting that he would not rock the boat.
He also denied reports that he had met BJP president, Nitin Gadkari. Curiously, there is still no word on when the Assembly is to convene. Bahuguna was the only ‘minister’ to take oath of office today. While Uttarakhand can have a dozen ministers, ministry-formation, for the time being, has clearly taken a back seat to fire-fighting in the Congress.
While the Congress leadership chose to ignore the ‘revolt’ by Harish Rawat, speculation is rife on whether Bahuguna can survive the floor test. Most of the Congress MLAs stayed back in New Delhi and were said to be closeted with Rawat at his residence, and chalking out their future course of action.
The three Independent MLAs and the lone Uttarakhand Kranti Dal (P) legislator, besides the three MLAs of the Bahujan Samaj Party, who had extended support to the Congress, were, however, present.
Harish Rawat, a veteran Congressman, received unexpected support from another MP and chief ministerial aspirant, Harak Singh Rawat, whose supporters also joined the noisy protest against the party’s decision to foist Bahuguna as CM.Vijay Bahuguna took the oath of allegiance and secrecy in Hindi, even as thousands of party supporters cheered him. Union Minister of Health Ghulam Nabi Azad, Birender Singh, Congress general secretary and incharge Uttarakhand affairs, Union minister of state for Home Bhanwar Jitender Singh also attended the swearing in function.
Former Chief Minister ND Tewari, emotionally recalled his long association with Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna in Uttar Pradesh. Former Chief Ministers Maj Gen BC Khanduri (Retd) and Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank were also present along with Reeta Bahuguna Joshi, besides Satpal Maharaj, MP from Pauri Garhwal and Uttarakhand Congress Chief Yashpal Arya, both of whom have thrown in their lot with Bahuguna.
The dissensions in the Uttarakhand Congress on a day when the Congress Chief Minister was to take oath of office clouded the brief ceremony. There was even reports that the party could change its decision due to the pressure exerted by Harsh Rawat.
Congress sources here claimed that efforts were on to placate the disgruntled leaders.

Nainital, March 13
The man for whom this was a golden chance to become the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, given his clout and consistent hard labour, has once again been denied the opportunity.
People are of the opinion that Harish Rawat really deserved the post this time and it was nothing but what has come to be known as the Congress culture of imposing leaders that took its toll.
The soft-spoken Congress heavyweight is known throughout the party for his organisational skills. In a do or die battle, he had gone ahead to win the Haridwar Lok Sabha seat, having migrated from Almora. It was after two decades that the Congress managed to win the seat in 2009.
Hailing from Mohanari village in Almora, Rawat, a law graduate from Lucknow University, started his political journey from the grassroots. He began by becoming a gram pradhan and then the block pramukh from Bhikiyasain.
Thereafter, he joined the Youth Congress and rose to the rank of its national general secretary. He was also the national vice-president of the trade union wing of the Congress-INTUC. He also honed his organising skills while being the Chairman of the Congress Seva Dal.
Rawat has been a member of the All-India Congress Committee (AICC) since 1980.
He began his stint in Parliament from 1980 as he won from the Almora seat three times in succession. But 1989 was the year that he won from Almora and thereafter, he faced a series of defeats in the Lok Sabha contests from his home constituency.
He became the president of the Uttarakhand Pradesh Congress Committee (UPCC) in 2000 after the formation of the state. He not only revived the party but also led it to victory in the 2002 Assembly poll.
He did not contest from any of the Assembly segments. Contrary to the expectations, the Congress chose to make ND Tewari the Chief Minister of the state instead of Rawat.
As a compensatory measure, he was sent to the Rajya Sabha the same year. Just when his Rajya Sabha tenure was coming to an end, Rawat started doing the groundwork in Haridwar while saying that he had no intention of contesting a poll before 2010. He eventually contested and won from the seat after his traditional constituency of Almora was declared reserved.
He was the strongest contender for a Cabinet berth from the state as he had won from a constituency where the Congress was nowhere in the reckoning.
The party had last time won from Haridwar in 1989. Belonging to the hilly terrain of Almora and having won from the Haridwar seat in the Terai belt, Rawat’s elevation to a ministerial berth amalgamated the hill-plain divide.
Over the past three years, he worked continuously for the Congress victory in the Assembly poll. Sources say that he was instrumental in bringing two Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) legislators in the previous Assembly to the Congress fold and this time also he was consistent in getting the BSP to support the Congress.
According to sources, he is now being blamed by his rivals for the Congress failing to reach the simple majority mark as he had a major say in the distribution of tickets. But at the same time, majority of the winning candidates in the party are close to him.

Nainital, March 13
A stint in the judiciary followed by one in politics and above all being a scion of the Bahuguna family are Vijay Bahuguna’s key qualities. Handing over of the Chief Minister’s position to Vijay Bahuguna, who is the son of legendary Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna, by the Congress high command is being seen by many in Uttarakhand as the first step in promoting dynastic politics at the top-most level in the state which is among the youngest in the federal system.
Born on February 28, 1947, in Allahabad, Vijay went on to study law in Allahabad University. His skills as a lawyer and his knowledge of the subject soon saw him being alleviated to the post of a High Court judge both in the Allahabad High Court and later the Mumbai High Court.
Old timers say that when the movement for the creation of Uttarakhand gathered momentum in 1994, Vijay had quit as a judge and returned to his home state for a stint in politics.
He rejoined the Congress and unsuccessfully contested the 1998 Lok Sabha poll from the Pauri Garhwal seat. He then shifted base to the Tehri constituency and fought the two parliamentary elections in 1999 and 2004 but lost. However, it was the 2007 bypoll that turned his way and he won from the seat. He went on to repeat the performance in 2009 when he was pitted against Jaspal Rana of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). More recently, Rana came into the Congress fold just when the campaign for the Assembly poll was on.
He had proved to be a meticulous planner when after having learnt lessons from the previous defeats and confident of being nominated again on the Congress ticket in 2009, he had begun his campaign well in advance.
His parliamentary constituency is well spread out covering the districts of Uttarkashi, Tehri and Dehradun. Till the parliamentary poll, one of his major achievements that had been played up in the campaign was his addressing the United Nations General Assembly on November 18, 2008, on the issue of “Equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council and other related matters”.
During the campaign, it was the posters of this address that had dotted the hills of his constituency. The people of his constituency were confident that he would become the Chief Minister of the state one day. It was in the summer of 2009 that Nand Lal, a resident of his constituency, had told this correspondent at Kanatal, “He is a dynamic leader and we feel he will lead the state someday like his father.”
In the recently held poll, like his rival Harish Rawat, Bahuguna too had a major say in distribution of tickets at least in his parliamentary constituency. Most of these candidates returned victorious which has proved to be a shot in his arm.
Above all, he has been instrumental in garnering the support of two Independents and also the lone Uttarakhand Kranti Dal (Progressive) legislator in favour of the Congress.
An avid lover of golf, billiards and chess, Bahuguna has been a part of several parliamentary committees, besides having been the Vice-Chairman of the Uttarkhand Planning Commission from 2002 to 2007.

Resentment in Kumaon over Harish Rawat’s neglect 
Nainital, March 13
The Congress high command has considered regional and caste factors to decide on the choice of Chief Minister of Uttarakhand. A large number of people across Kumaon are agitated over the failure of the Congress to choose a leader from the region for the top post.
Observers and Congress leaders were expecting an MLA from the region to be chosen as Chief Minister. The best bet, of course, was Harish Rawat.
Observers say Harish Rawat had proved his mettle by winning the Haridwar Lok Sabha seat in 2009 after he had to leave his traditional Almora constituency. They add his victory from Haridwar proved that he was one of the few leaders in the state who were acceptable in all regions.
Having denied the opportunity to head the government in the state after the Congress won the 2002 Assembly elections under his leadership, Rawat and his supporters were hopeful that this time he would be made Chief Minister. However, the Congress high command’s choice of Tehri Garhwal MP Vijay Bahuguna as Chief Minister has annoyed Rawat’s supporters. Their contention is, “If an MP were to be Chief Minister, Harish Rawat was the undisputed leader.”
If the newly elected legislators were to decide on the chief ministerial candidate, Uttarakhand Pradesh Congress Committee president Yashpal Arya, an MLAs from the Bazpur constituency in Kumaon, was a front runner. A four-time legislator, Arya is a former Speaker of the Uttarakhand Assembly. The Congress under his leadership emerged the single largest party in the elections this time. As he represented Dalits, Arya as Chief Minister would have benefited the party, said the Congress president’s supporters.
The observers say even former Cabinet minister in the Narayan Dutt Tiwari government Indira Hariydesh had an outside chance of becoming Chief Minister. Indira’s long political experience and, above all, her having won from Haldwani with the highest margin of 23,000 votes were being seen as her strong points.
However, they are sceptical about the decision of the Congress high command to ignore the MLAs from the Kumaon region and again select a Chief Minister from the Garhwal region. The caste factor also played its role in the selection of the chief ministerial candidate and the Brahmin lobby once again managed to outclass the Thakur lobby in the state politics.

Pithoragarh, March 13
The Congress party units in the Almora parliamentary constituency are divided over revolt by Harish Rawat on his neglect by the party high command for the post of Chief Minister. “It was due to Harish Rawat’s efforts that Congress leaders from the Kumaon region have assumed significance in the party,” said Pradeep Tamta, Congress MP from Almora and strong Harish Rawat supporter in New Delhi.
While almost all Congress MLAs in the four districts of the Almora parliamentary constituency are supporting Harish Rawat, the party units are divided over the issue.
In Pithoragarh district, the three Congress MLAs are with Harish Rawat, but the party organisation is supporting the decision of the high command regarding the choice of Chief Minister. “As most of the party office-bearers in the district organisation appointed by president of the Uttarakhand Congress Yashpal Arya in the last two years are his loyalists, they are supporting him and the party decision,” said Mahendra Singh Lunthi, president of the Pithoragarh district party unit. Lunthi added that as Arya was supporting the decision of the high command, they also preferred to go with him instead of pursuing personal ambitions.
In Almora, however, besides two of the three party MLAs supporting Harish Rawat the local party unit is also with him. “Rawatji is our leader and under his leadership we can take the state forward to achieve development targets set by the party,” said Rajendra Singh Barakoti, Almora district Congress president.
The lone Congress MLA from Champawat, Hemesh Kharkwal, is supporting Harish Rawat, while the local party unit is supporting Yashpal Arya. “We have celebrated the appointment of Vijay Bahuguna as the seventh Chief Minister of the state by the party high command,” said Mohan Ram Arya, president of Champawat district Congress unit.
He added that Hemesh Kharkwal was brought into the party by veteran leader ND Tiwari, but after the latter became weak physically and politically, Kharkwal switched over to the Harish Rawat group.
The lone Congress MLA from Kapkot in Bageswar district, Lalit Farswan, is also a Harish Rawat supporter as he got the party ticket on the Haridwar MP’s insistence. “Besides the Kapkot MLA, the local party unit is also supporting Harish Rawat,” said Ummed Singh Majhila,” Bageswar district Congress president.

BJP adopts wait-and-watch policy 
Dehradun, March 13
The factional feud in the Congress after the nomination of Vijay Bhauguna as the new Chief Minister of Uttarakhand has provided a window of opportunity to the Uttarakhand BJP whose leaders are not averse to extending support to Harish Rawat if he quits the party.
After the BJP had lost the race to the Congress by one seat in the 2012 Assembly elections and was also pipped by the Congress in garnering the support from the three independent MLAs and BSP MLAs, the BJP was told to adopt a wait-and-watch approach. But now with the factional feud staring at the Congress the BJP is keen to fuel the Congress fire.
“We are already in talks with the three independent MLAs and three BSP MLAs, who may have second thought about extending the support to the Congress now that there is rebellion in the party. We are also in talks with the disgruntled senior Congress leaders and will not be averse to extending them support,” said BS Chufal, Uttarakhand BJP chief.
Meanwhile, party sources maintained that the BJP was a tad slow in mustering the support of three MLAs and three BSP MLAs, after the BJP central leadership failed to back the move. But now with the season of shifting loyalties beginning in Uttarakhand politics and senior BJP Uttarkhand leaders maintaining contacts with the disgruntled elements in the Congress, the party is not averse to fishing in the troubled waters.
“The BJP has already lost the first advantage, but now with the rebellion fire engulfing the Congress, the party would not like to lose the opportunity that has fallen in its lap,” said a senior BJP leader.
Besides the party sources claim that now the party’s primary concern will be to select a leader who will be able to sniff an opportunity in case the Congress does not complete its full term. With former Chief Minister BC Khanduri not in the reckoning, courtesy his defeat on the Kotdwar seat, the BJP will be increasingly looking at somebody who will be able to stitch an alliance with the disgruntled elements within the Congress and turn in a politically fluid situation to the party’s advantage.

Pithoragarh, March 13
“The BJP is ready to form the government in the state if the Congress fails to do so and creates a constitutional crisis. In such a condition, the Governor should invite the BJP to form the government,” said Uttarakhand BJP president Bishen Singh Chufal. He was reacting to the reported revolt by Congress MP from Haridwar Harish Rawat over the decision of the party high command to install Vijay Bahugana as the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand.
Chufal said only the BJP could give a stable government and there was no infighting in the party for chief ministership. “Even if the Congress forms the government in the state, there will be dissension on the allocation of ministerial berths and departments,” he claimed.
The BJP chief said they were in touch with BSP legislators and some Independents in case “the party gets a chance to form the government”. “We are also in touch of some Congress legislators who have assured us of support in the formation of the government from outside,” said Chufal.
Asked if he could name the Independent and Congress MLAs who were in touch with the BJP leadership, Chufal said as talks were on, he could not name them. “The people of the state should realise that only the BJP was capable of giving a stable government as factionalism in the Congress was bound to intensify,” said Chufal.

1 comment:

  1. रीता बहुगुणा ने छोड़ी कांग्रेस,BJP में हुईं शामिल
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