Your updated source of information about Dehradun & Uttarakhand.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Congress ready with 65 names for Uttarakhand polls

Uttarakhand polls: Cong declares list of 51 candidates
The allocation of 65 out of 70 nominations for the Uttarakhand Assembly polls by the Congress on Thursday night seems to have given it an edge over the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, which witnessed a near revolt after the announcement of 48 nominations on Tuesday.
Alive to the BJP's experience, the Congress has nominated just two outsiders — Rajender Bhandari, former Minister for Panchayati Raj in the BJP government, from Badrinath, and Quazi Nizammudin, a former BSP MLA from Manglore in Haridwar district.
All but one sitting MLA have been fielded again. State Congress president Yashpal Arya will contest from Bajpur, Leader of the Opposition Harak Singh Rawat from Rudraprayag, Pritam Singh from Chakrata, Dinesh Aggarwal from Dharampur, Amrita Rawat from Ramnagar and Tilakraj Behad from Rudrapur. Indira Hirdyesh, second in-command in the N.D. Tiwari Cabinet, will contest from Haldwani. Satpal Brahmachari has been fielded from Haridwar.
Surendra Singh Negi will compete against Chief Minister B.C. Khanduri in Kotdwar.
The party is likely to accommodate one or two nominees of the former Chief Minister, N.D. Tiwari, in the five constituencies where nominated are yet to be announced, sources said. These seats are Dehra Dun Cantonment, Sahaspur and Doiwala in Dehra Dun, and Rudrapur and Kichcha in Udham Singh Nagar.

Detailed Profile: Shri Satpal Maharaj


NameShri Satpal Maharaj
Constituency from which I am electedGarhwal
Father's NameLate Shri Hansji Maharaj
Mother's NameLate Smt.Rajeshwari Devi
Date of Birth21 Sep 1951
Birth PlaceKankhal, Distt. Haridwar (Uttar Pradesh)
Maritial StatusMarried
Date of Marriage08 Feb 1981
Spouse NameSmt. Amrita Rawat
No. of ChildrenNo.of Sons:2   No.of Daughters:0
State NameUttarakhand
Party NameIndian National Congress
Permanent Address13, Municipal Road,Dehradun, UttarakhandTel.             (0135) 2652414      , 2714546
Present Address28, Mahadev Road,New Delhi - 110 001Tels.             (011) 23326623      , 9013180355 (M) Fax. (011) 23326624
Email id(i) rajhans1[at]sancharnet[dot]in (ii) eureka[at]del3[dot]vsnl[dot]net[dot]in
Educational QualificationsSenior Cambridge Educated at St. George`s College, Mussoorie, Uttarakhand
Positions Held
March 1991-Sept. 199Member, Executive Committee, P.C.C.(I),Uttar Pradesh
Jan. 1992-1994Member, Rashtriya Rahat and Sadhbhawana Samiti (National Relief and Goodwill Committee)
March 1992-Oct. 1994Member, A.I.C.C.(I)
Mar. 1993-Oct. 1994Member, Rajya Ekikaran Parishad, UP (State Integration Council)
Feb. 1994-Feb. 1995Convener, Mahatma Gandhi 125th Anniversary Celebration Committee, Uttar Pradesh
Apr. 1994-Mar. 1996Patron, Uttarakhand Sanyukata Sangharsh Samiti
Oct. 1995-Dec. 1995Vice-President, All India Indira Congress Committee (Tiwari), Uttar Pradesh
Jan. 1996-Dec. 1996President, Indira Congress (Tiwari), Uttarakhand
1996Elected to 11th Lok Sabha
July 1996-June 97Union Minister of State, Railways
June 1997-Mar. 1998Union Minister of State, Finance
1997-1998Member, Implementation Committee for Commemoration of 50th Anniversary of India`s Independence
2000 onwardsMember, AICC, Uttarakhand
Aug. 2001President, Human Rights Department, Uttarakhand Pradesh Congress Committee
Feb.8, 2002-2004Secretary, All India Congress Committee
Feb. 2003-Mar. 2007Vice-Chairman, 20-Point Programme Implementation Dept. Govt. of Uttarakhand (Cabinet Rank)
Apr. 2008AICC Co-ordinator to Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh
2009Re-elected to 15th Lok Sabha (2nd term)
31 Aug. 2009Chairman, Standing Committee on Defence
16 Sep. 2009Member, Consultative Committee for the Ministry of Railways
19 Oct. 2010Member, General Purposes Committee
5 May 2010Member, Committee on Public Accounts
Social and Cultural ActivitiesPlayed an outstanding role in the formation of Uttarakhand State; one of the patrons of Uttarakhand Sanyunkta Sangharsh Samiti; notable contribution in protecting and preserving the ancient cultural heritage and in providing assistance to students, sportspersons and women; relief to the victims of natural calamities-floods, earthquakes, droughts and hailstorms etc. in various parts of the country; propagated national unity, integrity and religious harmony by organising conferences all over the country; organised Sadhbhawana padyatra in Gujrat post-Godhra riots, November 2002; organised several padyatras from Badrinath to Delhi, Siliguri to Gangtok and Gaya to Patna to interact and promote patriotism and spread the message of secular ideals; convened several hundred Sadhbhawana Sammelans in the last 25 years in various parts of the country to disseminate the feeling of goodwill and tolerance amongst different religious communities; organised and understood Gandhi yatra on the 125th Birth Anniversary Celebration as convenor; and was honoured by the President of Nepal, Shri Ram Baran Yadav in Ocotober for convening Pashupati Sangeet Mahotsav
Special InterestsExtending the latest computer technology, desk top printing and latest scientific advancements to the masses and eradication of superstitions, untouchability and other social evils; and comparative study of religions, cultures and history
Sports and ClubsBadminton; member of Constitution Club of India
Favourite Pastimes and RecreationKeeping abreast current affairs, international events, latest scientific developments, technology and its applications and travelling, meeting and interacting with varied groups of people
Countries VisitedWidely travelled

Brahamchari’s ‘clean image’ favourable for Congress

Haridwar, January 7
With the Congress facing defeat in the Haridwar (city) segment, by opting for saint-turned-politician Satpal Brahamchari this time, the party seems to be having better chance of winning.
Satpal Brahamchari boasts of having an honest image, of being the leader of the masses masses and above all, of not being attached with any party faction which had been quite harmful for the previous candidates in 2002 & 07.
Calm and composed at his Khadkhadi ashram- cum-residence, Brahamchari, in a chat with journlists, owed it to his fellow party leaders and activists who found him eligible to contest from city’s main seat.
His journey to getting party legislator ticket is just a decade old, which is quite surprising but also shows his hard work towards the party in during this period.
He first joined politics as a BJP activist but later shifted to the Congress in 2000. Considered close to Haridwar parliamentarian Harish Rawat, he was elected as Municipal Chairman in 2003. He holds a state record in terms of winning margin in whole of the state, by garnering 46,000 votes, defeating his nearest rival by 19,000 votes.
According to local population, Brahamchari’s tenure is regarded the best with no corruption allegation and development spree, helping Haridwar hold Ardh Kumbh succesfully.
“With its development my focus, we should first look into the needs of public,” said Brahamchari, a graduate in Sanskrit.
With him in the election fray, it will not be easy this time for state BJP Cabinet Minister Madan Kaushik to make a hat trick of the election wins from Haridwar segment.
Poonam Bhagat, state chief of the Kissan Congress, pointed out that in the past decade, the Congress has lost from Haridwar, owing to the inner party factionalism rather than strong opposition candidature, but this time surely hand will have an upper hand. 


He keeps cities clean and green

Dehradun, January 7
A clean and green city with open spaces is the dream of every city resident but sadly the cities in the country are infested with garbage, encroachment and concrete buildings with very little green cover. The cities of Uttarkahand, a hill state known for its lush green trees, are no exception as well.
Thanks to crusader Harak Singh Rawat, Additional Mukhya Nagar Adhikari (Additional Chief Executive Officer), Dehradun Municipal Corporation (DMC), the situation in the cities where ever he worked has changed for the better.
In Dehradun as AMNA, he removed encroachments from various parts of the city, fought with work-shirking sanitary workers to make them collect garbage from door to door, introduced carts to carry garbage, twin dustbins for the segregation of bio-degradable and degradable garbage and its further
These days he has also been given charge of election affairs of Rajpur Road and is leading the drive to remove illegal hoardings/banners defacing the city walls and trees.
He has been instrumental in propelling people in planting thousands of walnut trees in Srinagar, Kirtinagar, Tehri where he worked in different capacities.
He has also been at the forefront in removing encroachments, be it 350 kiosks in Tehri in one go, rehris from the bazaars or hutments from slum colonies in Dehradun.
Taking a cue from his passion to serve society, villagers around Baigul river at Udham Singh Nagar dug land up to five metres around the river at his behest and straightened the course of the river, which otherwise had changed its direction and was causing floods in the villages.
The government assistance of Rs 2 crore asked for the same project came late but was utilised well to build a concrete embankment around the river.
But the timely action plan implemented by Rawat helped in minimising the massive damage triggered by the floods every year.
From his stint as tehsildar, Udham Singh Nagar, to Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM), Srinagar, in year 2004, he was able to enforce a ban on the usage of polythene bags and introducing Friends of Environment Scheme (FES). “Under FES, I hired the services of small-time scrap dealers to make them collect garbage from door to door,supplementing their income from a payout of Rs 10 from each resident. The garbage
would then be either recycled or used for composting likewise,” he said. To ensure that his mission continued ever after he left, he constituted committees with heads of local bodies and workers, which are functioning well now.
As SDM, Kirtinagar, in year 2007-08 and Tehri in 2008-09, he rode on success by replicating the same experiment.
His reputation of doing good work brought him to the Municipal Corporation of the capital city but the strong union culture and idle sitting attitude of sanitary workers spawned problems for him.
The workers stood against him on one pretext or the other, banking upon political patronage. Rawat’s patience paid off and everything fell into line.
Telling about his dream projects he said: “I want fund-strapped DMC to construct its own residential and commercial complexes on its vacant land and earn money from it to be used for works of public welfare. The trees should also be planted around rivers so that people do not throw litter in them and use the area for recreation.”

Sonia Gandhi to visit Tehri Garhwal

Dehradun, January 7
United Progressive Alliance Chairperson Sonia Gandhi will be in the state on January 15.
According to Congress sources, Sonia will be addressing a public rally at Boraree Stadium in Tehri Garhwal district on January 15. The rally holds much of the importance as Sonia had failed to make it to the Haldwani Congress rally in the Kumaon region of the state on January 4 due to inclement weather conditions.
Congress leaders in Tehri are hoping that Sonia’s visit to the region will boost party’s electoral fortunes in the Garhwal region of the state.

Punjab team clinch cricket title

Dehradun, January 7
The Punjab team won the 26th Banke Lal Shah Under-15 Memorial Cricket Tournament by defeating the Purvanchal Cricket Academy, Benaras, by eight wickets in the final match here today.
After winning the toss, the Punjab team elected to bowl first. In the first innings, the Benaras team scored 49 runs all out. Rohit was the top scorer with 15 runs. Raghav and Harpreet took two wickets each for the Punjab team.
Responding to the score of the first innings, the Punjab team made 52 runs at the loss of two wickets. Openers Abhinav and Marshal contributed to the team’s victory with 26 and 17 runs, respectively.
Chaudhary Avdhesh Kumar, president of the Uttarakhand Volleyball Association, who was the chief guest on the occasion, congratulated the winning team and gave away the prizes.
Sukhpreet and Abhinav of the Punjab team were declared the best bowler and the best batsman, respectively. Sanjay from MCC was declared the best fielder while Vishal Roopani of the Benaras team won the best wicket keeper title.
Abhinav of the Punjab team was declared as the man of the match.

Mussoorie has first snowfall of the season

A hill covered with the season’s first snowfall in Mussoorie on Saturday.
A hill covered with the season’s first snowfall in Mussoorie on Saturday.
Mussoorie, January 7
Residents and tourists alike were thrilled to see the Queen of Hills and the surrounding hill ranges donning a white mantle today. This winter has been different in Mussoorie, as it has been waiting for snow till this day. The overnight ominous clouds finally obliged with the shower covering the town with white blanket of snow. Children, in particular, came out of their houses wearing woollens and frolicked in the first snowfall of the season by hurling snowballs at each other.
The belated snow and rain also brought cheers to farmers, especially the apple growers from Mussoorie-Dhanaulti apple belt, whose crops had been affected by the prolonged dry spell.
While the town received 2 to 4 inches of snow, the adjoining tourist spot at Dhanaulti recorded five to eight inches of snow.
The high reaches of Naag Tibba and surrounding peaks were receiving heavy snowfall since last night.
The snowfall accompanied by high-velocity icy winds snapped power transmission lines at some places and disrupted the services temporarily. Electricity Department officials had to come out in the bitter cold to fix the faulty lines amid the snow showers, making it difficult for them to work.
Neena, a tourist from Kolkota, was immensely excited to witness falling snow for the first time. Speaking to The Tribune, she said that was an awesome experience to watch snowflakes falling like cotton balls from the
sky. “My family had arrived in the town yesterday and was lucky to witness the snowfall here,” added Neena. With the Met Department predicting more snow and rain, the tourists have extended their stay for a day more. However, birds and wild animals were seen having a torrid time and were seen huddling close to each other to avoid the bitter cold.

Old residents of the town were of the view that the snow had become a rare incident now. RS Sharma, a senior citizen, said that the town that used to witness more than 12 feet of snow in the past, blamed the rampant construction and global warming for the decreasing snowfall in the town.
Met forecasts snow in higher reaches
DEHRADUNCold wave conditions prevailed in the state as the higher reaches experienced snowfall. Many parts of the state witnessed rain spells in the past 24 hours. According to Executive Director of the Dehradun Meteorological Department Anand Sharma, rains or snowfall is likely to continue in higher reaches of the state. Similar condition will prevail in other parts of Uttarakhand till Sunday morning.
Meanwhile, last night rains disrupted traffic movement on the roads. According to the Disaster Mitigation and Management Centre, Dehradun, Dharasu-Barkot National highway has been blocked at Radi whereas the Rishikesh-Gangotri National Highway has been blocked at Harshil in the Uttarkashi district due to snowfall.
Passengers have a tough time
PITHORAGARH: Passengers from Munsiyari en route to the district headquarter of Pithoragarh have to face a lot of inconvenience as the heavy snowfall last night has caused a road blockage at the Kalamuni mountains.
“The snow-cutter machine with the department is not in a working condition; therefore, the department will have to arrange one or repair the same machine to open the road,” said AS Bisht, Subdivision Officer of the PWD.
According to PWD sources, the road is likely to be opened in the next two days as more than 2 ft snow has accumulated on the Kalamuni crossing of the road linking the remote hill station with the district headquarter. “The people of Malla Johar face this sort of problem every year during winter as the snow cutter machine lying with the department remain in the non-working condition,” said Gulab Singh Pangti, president of the Malla Johar Vikash Samiti, Munsiyari.
According to the meteorology unit of the ITBP , the peaks of Chiplakedar, Khalia Top and Kalamuni have witnessed more than 3 ft of snow in the past five hours and the valleys of Byans on the Kailash Mansarowar route have witnessed more than 5 ft of snow in this sudden change of the weather.
The Byans Valley has witnessed snowfall on Gala onwards, covering the adjoining mountains for the first time in this season.
Tourists make a beeline
NAINITAL: Apart from the higher reaches, the town too witnessed snowfall, although the snow melted as fast as it fell in the main town. The areas of Cheena Peak and Kilbury Road witnessed a heavy snowfall. The tourists made a beeline to the Kilbury Road. The roadside stalls in the town selling woollens did brisk business throughout the day. This was the second snowfall of the season in the town.

Friday, January 6, 2012

10th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas to be Held in Jaipur

Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago to be Chief Guest 

The 10th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) will be held from 7-9 January, 2012 in Jaipur. Addressing a press conference here today, Shri Vayalar Ravi, the Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs and Civil Aviation announced that the Chief Guest of PBD-2012 will be the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Ms. Kamla Persad Bissessar. The theme of PBD-2012 is “Global Indian-Inclusive Growth”. He further said that Rajasthan will be the partner State of the 10th PBD, which would provide the Diaspora an opportunity to understand the vibrant culture and potential of State. 

Shri Ravi said that Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh will inaugurate this annual flagship event of the Ministry on January 8, and the President Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil will deliver the valedictory address on January 9 and confer the Pravasi Bhartiya Samman Awards. He also informed that two pre-conference seminars on ‘Solar Energy- Investment’ and R&D’ and ‘Social Entrepreneurship-Water’ will also be organized during the event. 

The Minister said that more than 1500 delegates are expected to participate in PBD-2012 from all over the world. He said that Government is making efforts to make PBD more meaningful and interactive event that would address issues and concerns of the overseas Indian community effectively. He also announced that the event would be webcast online and summary of proceedings put out each day. The interactive website would provide an opportunity for the Diaspora to participate in the conference from any corner of the world. On the occasion, he also launched the PBD website- 

Speaking in the conference, Shri Rajendra Pareek the Minister of Industries, NRI’s, and State Enterprises of Rajasthan said that Pravasi Bharatiya Divas is an efforts to bring Indian Diaspora on one forum, which expresses the concept of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam. He also extended all kind of support and cooperation from Rajasthan Government to make the 10th PBD successful. Dr. A. Didar Singh, Secretary, MOIA & Mr Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, CII were also present on the occasion.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

UKD (D) passing through major upheaval

Rebels not happy fighting on BJP symbol

Dehradun, January 5
The Uttarakhand Kranti Dal (D) is passing through a major upheaval for the last two days. Acting president of the party and head of the executive committee Luxman Singh Chufal is leading the group of dissidents in the party, who are not happy with the decision of party president and state Cabinet Minister Diwakar Bhatt to fight on BJP’s symbol in the Assembly elections.
Chufal is intending to break away from UKD (D) and fight in this election with the rebels. Chufal also belied the reports published in some newspapers that he was appeasing the incensed party workers to comply with Bhatt’s decision. He blamed party spokesperson Satish Semwal for distorting the facts before the media in his name.
Chufal also claimed to have got resignation letters of some 100 party office-bearers and members who wanted to split up from the Diwakar group. He said: “It was before merging with the other faction of UKD in
the year 2005 that the party was registered as UKD (Democratic), having me as the president of the party. I will lead the new party in that name and will not need to get fresh registration.”
He awaits more resignations to come his way on Friday after which he is slated to jump into the electoral arena.
Satish Semwal tried to mitigate the damage the party is destined to face, saying: “The anger brewing inside the members is more on cancellation of their seats. Chufal, who was to fight from Khatima, is highly upset as well. The discontentment will be easily contained by Diwakar Bhatt as he is scheduled to arrive from his constituency.”
Chufal refused to give in to any pressure tactics and fumed, saying: “Diwakar Bhatt is not playing politics but exhibiting traits of dictatorship. By lapping up two tickets from BJP, he had darkened the future of the rest of 68 candidates of the party who are adamant on fighting the elections as they worked hard in their constituencies. If Bhatt had fought from his party, even for two seats, we would have backed him up fully. But he is sailing in two boats. He should resign from any of the two parties because representing two parties is constitutionally incorrect.”
On the other hand, other faction of UKD (P) did not open its cards for the second list of the candidates as was decided to be done today.
Party general secretary Shishpal said: “We are being contacted by rebels from UKD, BJP and Congress. So the party leaders want to withhold the release of the second list till the Congress list is also announced so that the disgruntled leaders from other parties could be considered on various seats of the party.”
He said party leaders were also engaged in assuaging the discontent among those who are likely to be displaced from the list to make room for outsiders.


Shopkeepers against giving up extra space 

Dehradun January 5
A team of shopkeepers from Chakrata Road met vice-chairman, Mussoorie Dehradun Development Authority (MDDA), today to discuss their reservation regarding leaving two metres more space from the remaining part of the demolished shops on the road.
VC, BVRC Purushottam, tried to drive home the fact that the space was necessary for parking purpose. The shopkeepers were not content with his explanation and insisted on not giving up any more space. They said they would not tolerate any more demolition of their shops. Shashikant Goyal, president of the Chakrata Road Shopkeepers’ Association, said: “We are hardly left with eight metres of the remaining area. If we leave two metres from it, then we will not be left with much space. Therefore, no one is willing to abide by the MDDA’s direction in this regard.”
The VC said he would clear the MDDA’s stand on the issue in two to three days. Meanwhile, all the 10 mobile towers stood tall over RGM Plaza and were not removed even today. The notices have already been served to the tower owners but they have not come forward in removing them. It is only the Plaza which remains to be demolished on the road as rest of the buildings have been cleared. Others whose shops have been demolished are angry at the authorities for sparing RGM Plaza and are airing their displeasure openly.
The traffic, was, however, opened on the Chakrata Road as the debris has been removed from the road.
The MDDA officials have prepared a new plan for the Chakrata Road, according to which the road will be made six lane instead of four lane as was proposed earlier. The road will be decorated with plants on both the sides and ample footpath area would be provided.

Police drive against illegal liquor, tinted glasses

Policemen check vehicles for liquor and removing tinted strips from a car in Dehradun on Thursday.
Policemen check vehicles for liquor and removing tinted strips from a car in Dehradun on Thursday. 

Dehradun, January 5
The city police today began its campaign to impound illegal liquor and penalise the owners of vehicles with tinted glasses. In its first such drive, the Dhara police post nabbed an auto driver, Guddu, for carrying 470 small bottles of desi liquor near the Clock Tower.
Under the campaign, any one found carrying objectionable items or arms in vehicles will be arrested. The use of dark films on windowpanes of vehicles has also been banned.
Since a number of vehicles have tinted glasses they will now face a daunting task to remove the dark films all of a sudden.
The tendency to serve liquor to voters also increases during elections. Seeing this police has swung into action to keep a vigilant eye on offenders.
Senior Superintendent of Police GN Goswami said 10 surveillance teams, led by police officials, had been constituted to check suspicious vehicles, transportation of illegal liquor, etc, according to the directions of the Election Commission of India.

Jaspal Rana to join Congress, but his father to stay in BJP

Mussoorie, January 5
The fallout of the distribution of ticket debacle in the Bhartiya Janata Party camp has left the family of ace shooter Jaspal Rana a divided lot.
 Jaspal Rana after exhausting his energy in seeking the BJP ticket for his father from Dhanolti has finally decided to quit the party and join the Congress.
Narayan Singh Rana, senior BJP leader and also close relative of national president Rajnath Singh, after failing in his effort to convince the high command to re-distribute the ticket in his favour, has also acknowledged that Jaspal Rana is leaving the BJP and joining the Congress.
Narayan Singh Rana making a complete U-turn on his earlier statement said, “Jaspal Rana has been influenced by Rahul Gandhi and his commitment towards the youth of the country and, therefore, had been contemplating joining the Congress since several months and recent events will have also forced him to finally quit the BJP”.
Narayan Singh Rana also said he had no say in his son’s decision but as far as he was concerned, he would remain a loyal soldier of the BJP.
This election has finally divided the father and son duo in two opposite camps thus proving that “politics is an art of possible”.
The Congress by this move is trying to make dent in the vote share of the BJP among the youth. How far they will succeed only time will tell?
Meanwhile, the state Congress leaders are mum over the issue of Jaspal joining the Congress and insiders believe that announcement can come within a day or two. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Newly formed Janshakti Party to contest 15 seats

Haridwar, January 4
The newly formed local political outfit, Manav Adhikar Janshakti Party, today announced that it would contest 15 seats in the Assembly poll slated for January 30. It also announced that it could contest more seats if the desired candidates were found.
About the party’s agenda, state vice-chief of the party Yashpal Singh Rawat said the purpose of floating the party was to bring in honest and dedicated people in the mainstream of politics.
Yashpal, who will be contesting from the Haridwar (city) segment, said the party had decided to field more than 15 candidates, but it was only possible if they found candidates with a clean image and who were ready to work for the welfare of the people.
State chief of the party Naveen Kumar said an equal representation of people belonging to the hilly and plain areas had been made in the party executive working body.

Party workers’ protest against Khanduri

Dehradun, January 4
In a major embarrassment to Chief Minister B.C Khanduri, who is said to have played a major role in the distribution of the tickets and on whom the central leadership is banking heavily to steer the BJP’s ship in the forthcoming elections, was today given a taste of his own medicine by defiant party workers of Kotdwar, who laid siege of the party headquarters, questioning the logic behind fielding Khanduri from the Kotdwar Assembly seat.
Incensed party workers comprising zila panchayat president and office-bearers of Kotdwar district unit of the BJP said the leadership did not take the sitting MLA (Shailender Singh) Rawat into confidence. “If he was to be made the sacrificial goat, the Chief Minister should have taken him into confidence. But neither Khanduri nor the party leadership took sitting MLA Rawat into confidence,” said Harshvardhan Binjola, vice president of the BJP (Kotdwar Mandal).
Facing the wrath of the party workers since yesterday, the party leaders, who were witness to the protests at the BJP office today, never imagined in their wildest dreams that there would be a revolt against their Chief Minister, who was especially brought back to shore up the party’s dwindling fortunes, ahead of the elections.
In the past president of Uttarakhand Raksha Morcha T.P S Rawat had vacated his Dhumakot seat for Khanduri and then as a quid pro quo move, Khanduri had assured him a Lok sabha berth by tendering resignation from the Garhwal Assembly seat. But this time round denial of seat to Shailender Rawat has angered his supporters. “The elections are before us and Rawat has been tirelessly working in his constituency, but now after he has been left out, it would be difficult for him to look for another seat,” said Kishan Gusain, general secretary of the BJP (Kotdwar Mandal)
In fact the party workers today flayed the central leadership’s reliance on help-book style of electioneering. “There are no manuals available on winning elections. The central leadership has denied the ticket to several sitting MLAs to ward off anti-incumbency. The same rule should apply equally to all the MLAs. But several of them have been given the ticket again,” said Anil Nautiyal, sitting MLA from Karanprayag, who was denied the ticket.
His supporters charged that Harish Pujari, too, managed to get the ticket for Karnprayag Assembly seat because as he was associated with the Bahuguna Vichar Manch, an association that is linked with B.C Khanduri’s family.
Even the senior party watchers say the central leadership’s strategy can come unstuck, if there is no wave in favour of the BJP. “The BJP has tried to project Khanduri as a strong leader but in the absence of a wave, the BJP’s strategy can come unstuck,” said a senior BJP leader.

Khazan Das to fight as Independent

Denied ticket, Sahaspur MLA Rajkumar stages dharna

Dehradun, January 4
Giving vent to discontentment after being denied ticket from Rajpur, Sports Minister Khazan Das today declared that he would fight the elections as an independent. Khazan Das said he had made his intention known to the party that he would be fighting from the Rajpur seat after the Dhanolti seat, from where he is a sitting MLA, was de- reserved.
“I have been a disciplined soldier of the party but there is pressure from my supporters to contest from the Rajpur seat that I had begun to nurture,” he said.
However, he refused to divulge whether he would quit the BJP.
Meanwhile, the sitting MLA from Sahaspur, who was hoping to get the Assembly ticket from Purola, held a sit-in at Gandhi Park.
After remaining incognito yesterday, Rajkumar emerged today only to stage a dharna at Gandhi Park along with his supporters.
“After fighting the election from the plain, Sahaspur, I was keen to go back to the hills to serve my people but I have been denied ticket from Purola,” said Rajkumar.
His supporters added that most of the leaders in the state were migrating to the plains. His was the only case of reverse migration.
While his supporters continued to voice their protest at the BJP party headquarters, he kept himself away from the party headquarters.
Meanwhile, with most of the supporters of former Chief Minister Dr Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank bearing the brunt of the high command’s selection procedure for the Assembly seats, the party office was agog with rumours how the protests have been orchestrated by Nishank himself.


Sonia fails to turn up at rally venue Thousands of Congress supporters disappointed; Fog plays spoilsport

Haldwani, January 4
The Congress plans to kick-start the poll campaign in Uttarakhand with a bang ended in a fiasco of sorts as the star campaigner for the opening public rally, party president Sonia Gandhi failed to turn up at the venue.
Thousands of Congress supporters had to go back disappointed as the weather played truant and did not allow Sonia Gandhi to fly to Haldwani on account of the dense fog on the route. With the poor visibility preventing her arrival, it was left to the state-level leadership that was accompanied by a couple of faces from the central organisation to take the event forward. The moment the SPG personnel vanished from the venue, the public got the inkling that Sonia’s programme had been cancelled and started moving out in large numbers.
Some of them with links in the All-India Congress Committee (AICC) headquarters could be seen calling up Delhi to make sure whether the programme had actually been cancelled.
Ironically, the rally had initially been scheduled to be held in Rudrapur and later Haldwani was chosen as the venue.
The Congress supporters had come to the MB Postgraduate College Grounds in large numbers from across the region to participate in the rally which was supposed to kickstart Sonia’s campaign schedule for the five poll-bound states. The supporters had started gathering on the spot from 10 am.
Observers feel that despite Sonia’s absence, the rally has proved to be a success as the supporters got to hear what the party had to offer during its campaign and if voted to power. The tone was set by former Cabinet Minister and Congress heavyweight from Haldwani Indira Hridayesh who announced from the stage that the Congress would be setting the state on the path of economic growth if voted to power. She said the party would set up Uttarakhand Financial Corporation to give loans to entrepreneurs at the lesser rates of interest. She also talked about giving an unemployment allowance to the youth.
Hridayesh said apart from providing low-cost housing to the weaker sections of society, the Congress would also provide agricultural loans at 3 per cent rate of interest. She also promised the revival of the Hindustan Machine Tools (HMT) unit at Bhimtal.
Interacting with mediapersons amidst the speeches being made from the stage, Union Minister Harish Rawat ruled out that there were differences within the party and claimed that the response of the people for the rally showed that they were desperate for a change.
Lok Sabha member from Almora Pradeep Tamta said the Dalits and minorities had always been safe under the Congress rule.