Your updated source of information about Dehradun & Uttarakhand.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Beatles in Dehradun

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The Beatles,India was their most creative period. When they were in Rishikesh/Dehradun for several weeks in February, March and April of 1968 (They stayed at Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's spiritual centre, Rishikesh), they wrote between 23 and 48 songs, 17 of which were included in their White Album, one of their best known.

In that period the Beatles made one song on Dehradun , which never got released. This song is treated as a rare collection on the Beatles.This song is treated as a rare collection on the Beatles. Its video has been released on the occasion of 1st Asian Mayors’ Conference, held at Dehradun, Uttaranchal, India, from Nov 26 – 28 2006, which shows clips of Dehradun our home town and essence of this blog.
Above is the links  for ' Dehradun....Dehradun' song
Circles - Written by: Harrison, Recorded: May 1968, Unreleased
George Harrison: vocals, organ

Recorded among the May 1968 demos for the White Album, Circles was a George Harrison composition which eventually saw light of day in 1982.

Upon their return from India, all four Beatles gathered at Kinfauns, Harrison's Esher bungalow. They recorded demos of 27 songs, to be put forward as potential titles for the White Album. Of these songs, 19 eventually found their way onto the album.

One of the discarded titles was Circles, seemingly recorded alone by Harrison with just an organ accompaniment. Speaking voices can be heard in the background; they may be those of the other Beatles, or possibly the sound of a television or radio.

One of Harrison's more philosophical songs, Circles is lyrically similar to The Inner Light or Within You Without You, although the concept of the changing world being observed by a stationary individual perhaps best recalls John Lennon's I'm Only Sleeping.

The Beatles never recorded Circles as a group, although Harrison's demo was later widely bootlegged along with the other Kinfauns recordings. Like Lennon's Child Of Nature - which also resurfaced in a different form some years later - Circles wasn't included on Anthology 3, although some of the other May 1968 demos did feature. 

A New Beatles Documentary in the works?

Will 2012 be the year that renowned Indian-born filmmaker Mira Nair’s documentary film about the Beatles time at Rishikesh finally gets a release?
It’s certainly a great idea for a documentary, and if anyone could pull it off it is Nair.
Known primarily for her popular and successful feature films (Salaam Bombay!, Mississippi Masala, Vanity Fair, The Namesake), she has for the past thirty years also been forging a parallel career making short films, both fiction (Migration, How Can It Be?, The Day the Mercedes Became a Hat) and documentaries (So Far from India, India Cabaret, The Laughing Club of India).
Nair has been talking about making a documentary on the connection between the Beatles and her country India since about 2006. But so far it’s failed to see the light of day. Here’s a response to a question she got about it back in 2009:
Have you ever wanted to make a documentary feature?  Yes, a feature documentary on the Beatles in India. The Beatles wrote twenty-three songs when they went to the Maharishi’s ashram in 1968. And I think the impact of India on the Beatles and vice versa would make for a very cool film. I went to the ashram myself and photographed it—it’s all abandoned. I made a very evocative photo portrait of what is there now. So I mixed that with archival footage and made a twenty-minute piece, to let the producers preview it. The producers couldn’t get the rights to the songs, but we have to keep trying. One day I really hope to do it.  (from The Criterion Collection)
Things have been a bit quiet since, but could the recent focus on George Harrison and his spiritual journey be a new catalyst? The Martin Scorsese documentary “Living In The Material World” certainly has the influence of India on George as a central theme….
I got an email from fellow blogger Beatlindia quoting another 2009 article which appeared in the Sunday Pioneer newspaper in New Delhi. That article has since been republished elsewhere on the web, prompting speculation that Mira Nair’s film may be closer than we think:
Renowned film director Mira Nair is making a film on The Beatles and their inspirational stay at Rishikesh to learn transcendental meditation. The 90-minute “docu-feature” will capture the band’s experiences at the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s ashram, which led many celebrities and youngsters to travel to the East in search of peace.
Rishikesh lies in the Doon Valley in the foothills of the Himalayas, some 200 kilometres from the Indian capital of New Delhi. It’s just near the city of Dehradun, which is the subject of a song written by George Harrison and recorded by the Beatles – but never released. Sharad Kukreti, a Doon Valley-based IT professional, produced a short video film using the song as the soundtrack to various sights and scenes of the city:
The article continues:
For the Beatles, their stay in India was said to be their most creative period. When they were in Rishikesh (for several weeks in February, March and April of 1968), they wrote many songs, most of which were included in their White Album, one of their best known. “Dehra Dun” missed getting included in the album. This song is seen now as a rare gem of the Beatles. With their iconic long hair and necklaces of marigolds, The Beatles came to the ashram when they were at the height of their fame. They were looking for an escape from the pressures that came along with the fame. “It was through one of my neighbours that I could get this rare song,” says Kukreti. The video made by Kukreti matches the words of the songs and captures the beauty and tranquility of the valley. However, it is this beauty and calm that the city is fast losing and one wonders whether the Beatles could have been inspired to write a song had they visited it in this day and age. “The song captures the past simplicity of the valley and is very special for Doon’ites, especially those who have seen the days when the Beatles came here,” Kukreti says. He has placed the clip on the net and has received a lot of appreciation for it. “The nostalgia in this song and the fact that it was sung by Harrison makes it unique and I feel it should be highlighted more,” he says.
I hope Mira Nair keeps plugging away at her film project.

Sachin Tendulkar becomes first to score 100 international centuries

Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar bats on his way to scoring a century during the Asia Cup cricket match against Bangladesh in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Friday, March 16, 2012. Tendulkar, who had been stuck on 99 centuries for a year, became the first cricketer to score 100 international centuries on Friday when he hit to square leg and ran a single against Bangladesh in the Asia Cup. (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi)
Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar bats on his way to scoring a century during the Asia Cup cricket match against Bangladesh in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Friday, March 16, 2012. Tendulkar, who had been stuck on 99 centuries for a year, became the first cricketer to score 100 international centuries on Friday when he hit to square leg and ran a single against Bangladesh in the Asia Cup.  
DHAKA: India's Sachin Tendulkar on Friday became the first batsman in history to score 100 international centuries, adding another milestone in his record-breaking career.

Tendulkar, who turns 39 next month, achieved the feat when he recorded his 49th one-day century in the Asia Cup match against Bangladesh at the Sher-e-Bangla stadium in Dhaka. He has 51 Test hundreds.

The Mumbai batsman, who has compiled more Test and one-day runs than anyone in history, reached the record with a single, marking the moment with a modest glance to the sky while pointing to the Indian flag on his helmet.

Tendulkar is the most capped player in the history of the game with 188 Test and 462 one-day appearances since making his debut against Pakistan in Karachi in November, 1989.

Millions of fans in India and across the cricketing world endured an anxious year-long wait before Tendulkar finally reached the landmark in the four-nation tournament, the symbol of one-day supremacy in the continent.

He scored his 99th ton during a World Cup match against South Africa in Nagpur on March 12 last year, but failed to add to the tally on subsequent tours of England and Australia and a home series against the West Indies.

Former Australian captain Ricky Ponting is the second batsman on the all-time list with 71 international centuries. 

Over thousand Gurdwaras around the world celebrate 2nd Sikh Environment Day

Today is the anniversary of Guru Har Raibecoming the seventh Guru of the Sikhs (this type of anniversary is called a Gurpurab)  in 1644.  Among the aspects of his legacy that Sikhs remember today was this Guru’s love for the natural world.

19th century painting of Guru Har Rai (photo:

19th century painting of Guru Har Rai
Washington : As many as 1007 Sikh institutions and gurdwaras around the world celebrated March 14, the day nature and animal lover Guru Har Rai became the seventh Sikh Guru in 1644, as Sikh Environment Day.

EcoSikh, a Washington based Sikh organization, which had initiated the celebrations last year had set the goal of enrolling more than 700 Sikh institutions and gurdwaras to celebrate the day this year as compared to 450 last year.
This year it had also included Sikh run schools and Sikh-owned businesses to join in this endeavour.
Dr. Rajwant Singh, president of EcoSikh said: "It is amazing to see so much enthusiasm among Sikh masses and we believe that is perhaps the largest direct action by the Sikhs for the environment ever in the history.
"Guru Har Rai's life has inspired so many individuals to lead efforts at the local levels in India and all across the globe to take meaningful actions dedicated to this day."
Bandana Kaur, New York based programme director of EcoSikh in North America, said: "Many Gurdwaras are engaging in the local environmental issues in North America in their own localities and many are becoming eco-friendly in their operations."
Scores of young people are excited about this effort since it gives them the opportunity to relate to their faith in a unique way. South Hall based largest gurdwara in Europe has organized a major green drive on this day."
Sri Akal Takhat Sahib and Takhat Hazur Sahib in Nanded, Maharasthra, and Sikhs in several countries including USA, Australia, Canada, China, Singapore, Malaysia, Argentina, Nigeria, Kenya and UK joined in the effort to mark the Sikh Environment Day as a tribute to Guru Har Rai, EcoSikh said.

Traffic police launch drive to penalise offenders

Haridwar, March 15
In view of the large number of accident cases, particularly due to overloading, not wearing helmet and usage of cellular phones while driving, the city police has now started a drive in this regard.
Apart from imposition of penalty and seizing of vehicles, the traffic police is also along side carrying awareness drive among the vehicle riders.
Superintendent of Traffic Police Kiran Lal Shah told TNS that taking into account past two years’ accident cases in the city zone, most of them have occurred due to rash driving, overloading and not following traffic rules.
“As a result the police has now decided to penalise offenders, challan vehicles and even impound them if they violate again the traffic rules,” said Shah.
Autorickshaws which ferry more than stipulated passengers or are seen in prohibited routes and zones are also being booked by traffic police personnel. This drive has created fear among the traffic violators as traffic personnel are deployed at major intersections, highways and congested markets to ensure violators don’t roam freely.
Teenagers, particularly school students, who are found riding without helmets or are carrying more than one pillion rider, are being given stern warning initially taking into consideration the examination season. Such offenders’ parents are also being informed so that they know the risk their children are creating themselves. Kanika Bahuguna, a Ranipur resident, whose college-going daughter was penalised by traffic personnel as she was not wearing a helmet and talking on mobile while driving and ferrying two other girls on a single scooty, appreciated the ongoing traffic drive.
She urged police personnel to inform youngsters’ parents immediately when they catch them as otherwise they don’t come to know of the violation of traffic rules by their children easily. 

Ayub Khan shoots for TV serial based on Bond’s story

Mussoorie, March 15
Ayub Khan, the popular actor in Indian film and television domain, who is also nephew of Bollywood legend Dilip Kumar and son of Nasir Khan and actress Begum Para, on his visit to Mussoorie today said that it is television that has made him a household name in the country.
Ayub KhanAyub Khan is in the town shooting for a serial based on a story of eminent author Ruskin Bond titled “Ek Tha Rusty II” directed by Subdarshini Singh. He is playing the role of Inspector Keemat Lal in the serial being shot here.
Ayub Khan, after completing the shooting for the day, met media persons and said that he was excited to be in the famous hill station for the second time as he was here while shooting for the popular feature film “Salaami” in 1994.
Ayub Khan, who has done more than 20 films and is acting in several television serials, said that both mediums had their own advantages and disadvantages. He further said that there was more money in films in comparison to television but it was the television serials that had made him a household name in the country.
Recollecting his earlier films, Ayub Khan said that he had acted in films such as Toh Baat Pakki (2010), Zamaanat (2009),Teesri Aankh: The Hidden Camera (2006), Apaharan (2005), Revati (2005), LOC: Kargil
(2003), Gangajal (2003), Dil Chahta Hai (2001). He said his films had performed well at the box office but right now it was television that was consuming his time with so many serials on air in various channels.
Thanking his television fans, he said that it was due to the small screen that he had now become a household name and achieved immense fame, which was not possible earlier.
With many television serials on air, namely Uttaran, Rakhi - Ek Atoot Rishte Ki Dor, Piya Bina, Sambandh, Aandhi etc, Ayub Khan said that he was excited to work in the television serials based on the writings of eminent author Ruskin Bond.
“I have read the short stories of Ruskin Bond and found them immensely engrossing, especially during his childhood, and now working in the serial based on his work was immensely pleasing”. Ayub Khan will be in Mussoorie for a few more days and would return after completing his shooting schedule. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Indo-US workshop lays stress on green chemistry

Mussoorie, March 14
A three-day Indo-US workshop on “Green Chemistry for Environments and Sustainable Development” that was held at a hotel in Mussoorie concluded yesterday with the emphasis on forging a bilateral cooperation in promoting green chemistry throughout academia and chemical enterprise and reducing toxic waste to provide a cleaner environment.
The workshop was organised under the aegis of Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna Garhwal University and Texas University. The speakers from the USA and India elaborated in detail about green chemistry and need to promote it in daily life so that there is reduction in the amount of the toxic waste in the planet. Dr J Leazer from the USA, while discussing the 12 principles of the green chemistry, said synthetic methods should be designed to maximise the incorporation of all materials used in the process into the final product. He also laid stress on the prevention of the waste rather than clean it up after it was formed. Dr Leazer also said that chemical products should be as effective as possible. He further said auxiliary substances such as solvents and separation agents should be avoided. He also said energy requirements should be low and extreme temperatures and pressures should be avoided so that there was decrease in the level of the toxic waste. Leazer also said the chemical products should be designed in such a way that at the end of lifetime they readily break down to harmless products.
Eminent chemical scientists Dr Joseph M. Fortunak from Howard University in Washington said there was need to educate cooperates about the green chemistry as it was economically beneficial to them apart from keeping the environment clean. Dr Fortunak also said that one thing that was needed at the government level was imposing strict regulations which were not being done so far.
Dr Fortunak said, “There was need to change the way we look at this planet and the workshop is a step on that direction”.
Praising India on its initiative to reduce toxic waste, he said India had done a lot to reduce the waste and using the material that was abundant in nature much more judiciously than many other countires. He also said india could become a leader in promoting green chemistry in near future as the enthusiasm among the people was immense in the country.
Dr Rajendar Bhatnagar later speaking to the media said the objective of the workshop was to forge ahead a bilateral understanding with the United States and India in regard to reducing the harmful chemical products from entering the environment. Dr Bhatnagar also said India should learn from the past mistakes and disregard such technologies which damaged the environment and the best way to work on that path was through introducing green chemistry in the academia and the chemical enterprise. He also said that the organization which was keenly following the green technology should be rewarded so that others were also motivated towards following green chemistry practically.
Elated at the outcome of the workshop on green chemistry, he said around 150 delegates from the various fields around the world participated and shared their experience and divulged various ways to reduce toxic waste from the environment.

Seminar on violence against women

Dehradun, March 14
A one-day seminar was organised by the YWCA, on the theme ‘Violence against women’ in regard to International Women's Day.
Sushila Baluni, president of the state Women Commission, Advocate Anjali Gosain, police officer Sarla Rawat and Principal of St Xavier School Jyotika Gonsalves placed their views before the women audience.
Baluni said, “In the present times, women must know about their rights to fight against injustice. In the same vein, they should not forget their cultural values and direct their strengths in the right direction.”
Gosain congratulated the women for being associated with the YWCA and giving their selfless services to society. She enlightened the audience about the various rights being given to the women by the Constitution of India such as the right to education, career, property, maintenance and protection against physical, domestic and financial violence.
Rawat elaborated on helpline services and numbers such as 108 and 100. She also advised the audience not to ignore violence of any kind and report to the police immediately. 

Jhanda Mela concludes

Mahant Devender Dass leads ‘Nagar Parikarma’ on the concluding day of Jhanda Mela in Dehradun on Wednesday.
Mahant Devender Dass leads ‘Nagar Parikarma’ on the
 concluding day of Jhanda Mela in Dehradun on Wednesday.
Dehradun, March 14
Following an old tradition set by Guru Ram Rai, Mahant Devinder Das of Darbar Sahib accompanied by his followers did the parikarma of the old city today and bid a farewell to the sangat that had come for Jhanda Mela.
The parikarma started from Darbar Sahib and after passing through Saharanpur Chowk, Kanwali Road, Clock Tower and Guru Ram Rai Public School, Bindal bridge, it culminated at Lakhi Bagh.
At Lakhi Bagh, Mahant Devinder Das paid homage to former Mahants.
After establishing his dera in Dehradun, Guru Ram Rai used to do the parikarma of the areas under his dera and also meet the people. The tradition continues to be followed even today. The group covered a distance of 10 km.
Later in the evening, Mahant Devinder Das gave a good send-off to the sangat with prasad and gifts. 

CM visits Congress headquarters

Dehradun, March 14
A day after his swearing-in as the new Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, Vijay Bahuguna today visited the state Congress headquarters in Dehradun.

Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna greets supporters at Congress Bhavan in Dehradun on Wednesday.
Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna greets supporters at Congress Bhavan in Dehradun on Wednesday.  

Bahuguna reached Congress Bhawan during the afternoon hours today and spent over an hour with Congress workers who had turned up in large numbers to greet the new Chief Minister. Bahuguna interacted with the party workers and expressed gratitude to them for ensuring Congress victory in the Assembly elections in the state.
Uttarakhand Congress president Yashpal Arya, state Congress vice president Suryakant Dhasmana were among prominent Congress leaders who accompanied the Chief Minister. In a brief interaction with mediapersons, Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna said it will be his priority to take all sections of society together in the works of development.
Earlier, Congress workers resorted to large-scale bursting of crackers at the state Congress headquarters.
There was also large-scale beating of drums to welcome Vijay Bahuguna.

Doon club win cricket match by 7 wickets

Dehradun, March 14
Doon Tigers Cricket Club defeated the Vikasnagar ‘A’ Cricket team by seven wickets in a match in the 60th Dehradun Cricket League Tournament here today.
The Vikasnagar team, after winning the toss and electing to bat first, scored 58 runs all out in 18.4 overs. Opener Arman Ansari was the top scorer with 20 runs. Praveen took three wickets for 10 runs.
In reply, the Doon Tigers Cricket Club team scored 60 runs for the loss of three wickets to win the match by seven wickets. Opener Vinnet scored 23 runs. Mohsin took two wickets for 32 runs. 

Independents float non-political front

Dehradun, March 14
A fractured mandate in Uttarakhand has put a spotlight on three Congress rebels who along with the lone Uttarakhand Kranti Dal MLA today announced the creation of the Progressive Democratic Front (PDF), a non-political front that will keep a watch on the government.
Though the three rebels along with the UKD MLA have already extended support to the Congress, but they seem to be in no mood to rejoin the party.
“Despite being an old worker of the Congress, I was denied party ticket. I had no money to contest the elections, but with the support of the people, I have won. I owe my success to the public and there is no immediate plan to rejoin the Congress. The non-political front floated by us will keep an eye on the functioning of the government,” said MLA Mantri Prasad Naithaini.
By floating a non-political front, the three Congress rebel MLAs, Dinesh Dhanai, Harish Chandra Durgapal and Mantri Prasad Naithaini and UKD MLA Preetam Panwar seem to be pressing for a favourable bargain as the Congress finds itself in a tight spot mustering numbers due to a fractured mandate.
Before the swearing-in of the new Chief Minister, Vijay Bahuguna, it is believed that the Congress rebels had decided to extend conditional support provided their candidate was made the CM, but that has now become a thing of the past.
While the four MLAs were at the Chief Minister’s office, those close to the latter were seen making an assessment of the situation, waiting for fence sitters to cross over to their camp. However, that was not to be.
Even Congress rebel Dinesh Dhanai today made it clear that he would not be vacating his Tehri Assembly seat for Chief Minister Bahuguna as was indicated earlier. “This news is incorrect. I do not belong to the Congress and as such cannot be expected to vacate my seat,” he added. 

Assembly session from March 26

Dehradun, March 14
The first session of the Uttarakhand Assembly for this year will begin on March 26 with the newly sworn-in Chief Minister, Vijay Bahaguna, proving his majority on the floor of the House on March 27.

The vote on account budget will be presented on March 29. During the session, the swearing-in ceremony of MLAs will also take place. The five-day Assembly session will end on March 30.
On March 15, Governor Margaret Alva will administer the oath of office to Dr Shailender Mohan Singhal as Speaker pro tem. 

Bahuguna vs Rawat

Rrepresents two distinct styles of political working
Nainital, March 14
It is a case of grassroot politics standing against the sophisticated suave moves termed by critics as “armchair politics” that has come to the fore in Uttarakhand following the Congress emerging as the single largest party in the recent Assembly polls.
The two Congress leaders, Harish Rawat and Vijay Bahuguna, who presently stand out as rivals on the issue of becoming the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, represent these two distinct styles of political working.
Political observers point out that if there is one politician in Uttarakhand who is well aware of the developments in the Congress party right from Uttarkashi in the west to Pithoragarh in the east, it is Harish Rawat. A tireless worker, he has been moving from one corner of the state to the other amid difficult mountainous terrains persistently meeting and galvanizing party cadres in his entire political career. He proved this across the state when he was the state unit chief of the party in the early years of the last decade, and his efforts had not proved futile as the party had come to power in the very first general elections, much to the shock and dismay of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), that had never expected such an outcome.
A soft-spoken Congress heavyweight, Rawat has been known for his organisational skills, which he displayed when he won the Haridwar parliamentary seat in 2009 after migrating to the area once his traditional seat of Almora had been declared reserved.
A lad coming from Mohanari village in Almora, Rawat started his political journey from the grassroots. He rose from the ranks of a gram pradhan and the Block Pramukh from Bhikyasen.
His skills took him to the rank of the national general secretary of the Youth Congress and also the national vice president of the trade union wing of the Congress,INTUC. He has also been the Chairman of the Congress Seva Dal in the past.
A member of All India Congress Committee (AICC) since 1980, he won the Lok Sabha polls from the Almora seat three times in a row before experiencing a series of defeats. But he never lied low and worked tirelessly to strengthen the organisation.
He was made 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 2002 Assembly polls.
Denied the chief ministerial berth, he was sent to the Rajya Sabha and just when his tenure was coming to an end, Rawat started doing the ground work in Haridwar from where he went on to win the Lok Sabha poll.
Contrary to him, the journey of his present bête-noir Vijay Bahuguna has been altogether different. The name Bahuguna inherited from none other than the legendary Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna has helped his being propelled to the centrestage of state politics.
The transgression was relatively smooth from a stint in judiciary to the state politics when the agitation for creation of a separate state of Uttarakhand was at its peak. His body language and demeanour are a stark contrast when compared to Rawat.
Bahuguna had unsuccessfully contested the 1998 Lok Sabha poll from the Pauri Garhwal seat and had gone on to shift base to the Tehri constituency. He had again suffered successive defeats in 1999 and 2004. It was in 2007 byepoll that he saw victory and he repeated the performance in 2009.
One of his prime achievements that he had played up on in 2009 was his having addressed 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.
A golf lover who also has a penchant for playing chess and billiards, Bahuguna’s other achievements include his being the Vice Chairman of the State Planning Commission from 2002 to 2007 and his being a part of several parliamentary committees.
Unlike Rawat, he cannot be termed as a leader having mass appeal across the state. But then, as political observers and his critics say, the close access and affiliation to the Gandhi family has always proved to be beneficial in Indian politics. 
Caste politics major factor in Bahuguna’s selection as CM 
Nainital, March 14
Maintaining a regional and caste balance has proved to be a cumbersome task for the political parties in the state.
The ongoing crisis in the Congress on the issue of making of the Chief Minister is also being described by many as a fall out of this factor.
While the state is broadly defined by the politicians in terms of Kumaon and Garhwal, the two main geographical regions, the element of plains versus the hills has also thrived over the past 12 years.
Old timers recount that when the first Chief Minister, Nityanand Swami, was being sworn in to lead an interim Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in the state, it were the followers of his successors Bhagat Singh Koshiyari and Dr Ramesh Pokhariyal Nishank who had been raising slogans and dubbing him as an outsider from the plains who had been sent to rule a hill state.
The state’s lone regional force, the Uttarkhand Kranti Dal (UKD), has always tried to project itself as a force representing the interests of the hills while its critics have been dubbing it as “anti plains”.
Senior leader Narayan Singh Jantwal had recently told The Tribune. “We are not anti-plains, but we want special attention for the hilly regions that have been left out in the race of development.”
When it comes to the issue of Kumaon versus Garhwal, the undertones have been pretty harsh. Both the two main parties, the BJP and the Congress, have tried to strike a balance so that they are not dubbed as pro Kumaon or pro Garhwal.
The formula that the two parties appear to have adopted is that the Chief Minister comes from one region while the state unit chief of the party comes from the other.
There are several examples to substantiate this phenomenon. At present the state unit chief of the Congress, Yashpal Arya, is from Kumaon while the new Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna is from Garhwal. Prior to this, state unit chief of the BJP Bishen Singh Chufal was from Kumaon while former Chief Minister BC Khanduri was from Garhwal.
Before Khanduri was brought back, Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhariyal Nishank was also from Garhwal. During Khanduri’s first stint, when the BJP had come to power, state unit chief Bacchi Singh Rawat had again been from Kumaon.
This formula seems to have become a sort of norm for the two main parties.
Observers feel that the play of the element of caste in Uttarkhand politics cannot be ruled out. It is to be noted that all Chief Ministers in the state have been Brahmins.
It is also a fact that a lobby operating in Dehradun that is spread right through the canvass of bureaucracy, politics and also the media has worked towards projecting a Garhwali Brahmin as a Chief Minister. This phenomenon was visible when it came to choosing Khanduri’s successor after the BJP’s poll debacle in the Lok Sabha elections of 2009.
Observers say that Uttarakhand was carved out in a way that its demographic profile was dominated by upper-caste Hindus. The numbers of Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) is pretty less in the state. Among the upper castes, it is the Thakurs and Brahmins who dominate in terms of numbers.
Undertones of resentment have often been heard from Thakurs that they have been denied the premier position of the Chief Minister despite the fact that they are greater in numbers as compared to Brahmins. Some people are viewing the denial of the post to Harish Rawat from the lens of caste politics.
Thakurs complain
Thakurs have often expressed resentment that leaders belonging to the caste have been denied the post of Chief Minister despite their greater population as compared to Brahmins. Some people think that caste politics was responsile for the denial of the Chief Minister’s post to Harish Rawat.
All Chief Ministers in the state have been Brahmins. It is also a fact that a lobby of bureaucrats, politicians and mediapersons operating in Dehradun has worked towards projecting a Garhwali Brahmin as Chief Minister. This phenomenon was visible even when the BJP had to choose Khanduri’s successor after it fared poorly in the Lok Sabha elections in 2009.  

Bahuguna assesses fiscal position of U’khand

Dehradun, March 14
Still to constitute his Cabinet and prove his majority in the Assembly, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna today said that the government would be presenting a vote-on-account to deal with the expenditure side of the government’s budget for the coming few months.
On the first day at the Chief Minister’s office today, Vijay Bahuguna said that the government would first pass the vote-on-account for meeting out immediate expenditure of the government for the coming months, which would be followed by the general budget.
The Chief Minister also held a meeting today with the officers at his office and sought information on the progress of the Centrally-sponsored schemes and tried to assess the fiscal position of the state. “I have asked the officials to present a detailed report on the work being carried under their departments and problems being faced by them,” he said.
Chief Minister Bahuguna also asked the officials to take immediate decisions for those programmes that would require sanctions in the month of March.
He also asked the Principal Secretary, Health, to propagate the schemes that the Central Government had launched under National Rural Health Mission (NRHM). He sought a report on the progress of the medical colleges being built by the state and the Centre.
He specifically asked the concerned officials to ensure that roads were in fit condition in the state, especially in the rural areas, and also asked the officials of the Transport Department to explore the possibilities of starting CNG powered transportation services in Dehradun.
With a focus on Tehri, the Chief Minister asked the senior officials of the Tourism Department to prepare a report on harnessing tourism potential of Tehri lake and it’s surrounding areas. 

Kapil Dev visits IMA

Dehradun, March 13
Former Indian cricket captain Kapil Dev visited the Indian Military Academy here today. He shared his valuable experiences with the Gentlemen Cadets. Speaking to the Gentlemen Cadets, he brought out the immense benefits of sports and physical fitness in everybodys’ life.
He witnessed the various areas of GCs’ training and appreciated their enthusiasm and high morale. He said that it was an eye-opening experience for him to have glimpses of the training which changes a man into a gentleman. 

CII session on ‘Uttarakhand’s Next Decade of Development’

Dehradun , March 13
The role of the government in development is to ensure availability of public goods, create an enabling policy and regulatory environment and provide good governance, said Alok Kumar Jain, Additional Chief Secretary, Uttarakhand, at the CII Uttarakhand annual session held here today. The theme of the session was “Uttarakhand’s Next Decade of Development.”
Elaborating on the various infrastructure initiatives of the government, Jain said that the power deficit would be addressed by 2016 through capacity addition and also refurbishing of existing generation capacity. Improved connectivity and an enabling policy environment are other key priorities, he added. Jain also emphasised on the importance of Public Private Partnership (PPP) and the role of the industry.
Jain presented the CII Uttarakhand Annual Green Award to Himalayan Action Research Centre (HARC) for it’s outstanding work in the field of promoting agriculture and sustainable livelihoods in the hills of Uttarakhand. Mahendra Singh Kunwar, chief functionary, HARC, accepted the award. While thanking the CII for the award, Kunwar said logistics was a key challenge that needed to be addressed for hill development.
Addressing the session, Rakesh Sharma, Principal Secretary, Industrial Development, emphasised on the need for improving the industrial infrastructure further, especially in the hills. Giving the example of China, Sharma highlighted the need for connectivity to the remotest parts of the state for achieving high economic growth rates. Sharma also stressed on the need for focusing on skill infrastructure, specially the ITIs and polytechnics. He urged the industry to come forward and take a lead in this area.
Moderating the session, Dr R S Tolia, former Chief Secretary, former CIC, Uttarakhand, said that high levels of poverty, specially in the hills, is a prime concern. This, he said, can be addressed only through agri-based interventions. He strongly recommended strengthening of the planning institutions and the state taking advantage of the priorities set by the next (12th) Five Year plan.
Earlier, Vijay K Thadani, Chairman, CII, Northern Region, and CEO, NIIT, emphasised on the importance of bringing in the important element of skill development into the education framework. This, he said, would help enhance the employability of the local youth.
Dr S. Farooq, Chairman, CII, Uttarakhand State Council, Uttarakhand, said that state had witnessed impressive economic growth. It had also made good progress on the social development front, having achieved the greatest increase in the human development index between 1999 and 2008 amongst all states. However, many challenges remain, including challenge of hill development, poverty, sustaining the growth momentum, livelihood generation etc. The session aims to deliberate as to what should be the priorities of the state for the next 10 years, he added.
The session was well attended by over 100 delegates from industry, institutions, government, academia, NGOs and media. Rakesh Aggarwal, Vice-Chairman, CII, Uttarakhand, proposed the vote of thanks.

Doon students excel in master mind event

The winners of the Master Mind Competition in Dehradun on Sunday
The winners of the Master Mind Competition in Dehradun on Sunday. A Tribune photograph

Dehradun, March 11
As many as 6,250 students from 115 schools across the city participated in the 12th Master Mind Competition held today.
It was organised by the Sajha Welfare Society. Of the 6, 250 students, 72 qualified for the final round.
Vinay Shukla, a student of Love Dale Academy, won in the the category of “Master Mind (senior) while Kinsak Negi, a student of Mount Font School, topped in the category of “Master Mind (junior).
Abhishek Tamola, a student of Glacier Academy, won the first position in the “Master Mind (sub-junior)” category, Pratik Badola of Sant Kabir Academy won in the category of “Master Mind (kids) and Shiv Malhotra of Stepping Stones School won the first position in the category of “Master Mind (Aryan)”.
The prizes were given away by Health Director, SWS, Seema Verma and Chairman Pankaj Bhardwaj.
Verma appreciated the endeavours of the organisation and said by participating in such quiz competitions, students would be prepared for other competitive exams. Senior coordinator, SWS, Puja Bhardwaj said the organisation had been working in the fields of education, health and public service for the past 12 years.
She said they would soon hold “Super Mind Competition” in which teachers of city schools would participate. Besides, the organisation would also hold health camps in schools.
Mona Negi and Shailash Chander Godiyal played the role of quiz master and Reetu Anand, Mansi Barthwal, Megh Pandey and R Dhawan were the judges.

Workshop on “Green Chemistry for Environments”

Dehradun, March 11
A three-day Indo-US workshop on “Green Chemistry for Environments and Sustainable Development” organised by the Department of Chemistry, HNB Garhwal University, started in Dehradun today.
Inaugurating the workshop, Prof Vinod Kumar Singh, Director, Indian Institute of Science, Education and Research, Bhopal, said green chemistry was a new branch of chemistry which lays emphasis on adoption of eco friendly methods to synthesise drugs and other chemicals by minimising the usage of toxic chemicals.
Uttarakhand Council for Science and Technology director Rajendra Dobhal said with rising environmental concerns, green chemistry has became an important subject for the scientists and society in general. He said green chemistry was much safer chemistry nowdays taking into account various environmental concerns globally.
Earlier, coordinator of the event DS Negi said the objective of the workshop was to make people working in industries aware about minimising of waste generation by following the principles of green chemistry.
A total of 120 delegates are attending the workshop.

Tiger kills tusker in Corbett

In an unprecedented incident, a tiger killed a tusker in the Corbe tt National Park in Uttarakhand today. Corbett National Park director RK Mishra said forest guards came across a tiger eating the body of a tusker in the Dhela range of the Corbett during afternoon hours today.
He said the deceased tusker hd tusks that were around two feet in length. “In all probability, the tiger had killed the tusker as the latter had injuries both on its back and head. The injuries mark visibly revealed that the tusker was attacked by a tiger”, Mishra pointed out.
He said the tiger had also eaten parts of the body of the deceased tusker. “The hind legs of the tusker had deep wounds and the ears of the elephant had been eaten by the tiger”, Mishra said. 

Truck plunges into Ganga; driver missing

Mussoorie, March 12
A truck loaded with cement going from Rishikesh to Srinagar fell off the road and rolled 100 m down into the Ganga near Devprayag in Tehri district today.
The locals informed the Devprayag police, who rushed to the spot and began the search for the missing driver, who is feared to be swept away in the gushing current of the river. The police also recovered documents lying on the slope and informed the owner of the truck, Bhagwan Singh Negi, about the incident. The driver has been identified as Surender Singh Negi .

Students’ Union celebrations at Shri Guru Ram Rai College

Dehradun, March 13
The Students’ Union celebrations started at Shri Guru Ram Rai PG College, Derhadun, today. Kicking off the three-day long celebrations, chief guest former Speaker Harbans Kapoor said the youth were the backbone of the country. He stressed on active participation of students in the cultural activities. Kapoor greeted SGRR students of giving an excellent start to the students union celebrations.
SGRR College Principal Prof VK Borayee said due to excellent education environs, most toppers of the region preferred undertaking their college studies at SGRR College. He said apart from academics, the college also gives importance to extra-curricular activities.
SGRR Students Union president Sakendra Rawat, general secretary Rohit Negi, vice-president Puja Negi and other office-bearers were present on the occasion. The first day of the celebrations saw cultural dances. 

Chakrata Road traders lose patience, begin constructions

Dehradun, March 13
The patience of traders of Chakrata Road has ultimately run out as most of them have begun construction at a big level on the land which was left after their shops were demolished to widen the road. The officials of Mussoorie Dehradun Development Authority (MDDA) have closed their eyes over the rampant constructions and have done nothing after completing a formality of sending a notice to the errant traders against illegal constructions more than a month ago. They also did not collect the fine as they threatened the traders with Rs 500 for each passing day until they remove the illegal constructions.
Kishore Kumar, shopkeeper, said: “The shopkeepers have been sitting idle, waiting for MDDA to take a stand on the area of the land to be left for parking space before the demolished portion for more than three months but nothing happened till date. We are under intense strain as our families are suffering with acute financial problems. We have no other solution left for us but to start the construction by leaving the two-metre space as
was demanded by the MDDA officials.”
In muted tone, he said the officials would keep mum until the new state government gave fresh directions over the issue. It seems the officials also do not want to burn their hands by taking any decision, which may provoke the shopkeepers and adverse reaction from the new state government. They appeared to have adopted wait and watch policy at the moment.
In reality, majority of the traders are also not leaving two meters space but following their own wishes by leaving two feet to three feet. Others who have little space left have built shops by leaving no space altogether and having entrance on the back side as was dictated by MDDA when this issue arose for those who had very little land left.
But even in such cases, no permission has been taken from MDDA before doing so. Vishal Gupta, a shopkeeper, said: “ The shopkeepers are feeling encouraged from their colleagues who have begun constructions. With the majority doing so, the solidarity factor has further emboldened their resolve.”
Anil Chamoli said the shopkeepers were well aware that after Congress took over the reins of the power, it would take time in either taking decisions over controversial issues such as Chakrata widening, or might issue re-allotment. In both the cases, the matter was going to stretch for many more months ahead, which would directly mean disaster for the business of traders, who were on the verge of penury for losing out on business for the last three months.
MDDA Vice-Chairman did not answer phone calls made to him to take his version on the matter.

Sea of humanity at Jhanda Mela

Dehradun, March 12
A large number of devotees gathered at Guru Ram Rai Darbar to lift the 87 ft mast bearing the flag of Guru Ram Rai on the 336th birth anniversary of the saint today, thus signalling the beginning of Jhanda Mela. He had established the seat of the Udasin sect in Dehradun.
Dr Arun Dhup, a resident of Delhi, along with members of his family, who offered Darshani cover at Guru Ram Rai Darbar in Dehradun on Monday.
Dr Arun Dhup, a resident of Delhi, along with members of his family, who offered Darshani cover at Guru Ram Rai Darbar in Dehradun on Monday. A Tribune photograph

The credit for transforming the simple ceremony of raising the flag into an egalitarian and community show goes to Guru Ram Rai’s wife Rani Punjab Kaur. Her liberal stance is reflected in the simple ceremony of offering covers that are wrapped around Jhanda Sahib winning over society’s narrow mindedness and parochial urges.
“It is faith that brings lakhs of pilgrims to Darbar Sahib. The syncretism practised by Guru Ram Rai and Mahants draws pilgrims from all religions,” said Devender Das, Mahant, Darbar Sahib, who presided over the ceremonies.
Since morning, a large number of men could be seen wrapping covers around the mast. The old mast that was removed lay on one side.
The dexterity of those involved in covering up the mast was there for all to witness as hundreds of hands balanced it. “A total of 20 shaneel covers, one darshani cover and 40 covers made of cotton clothe would cover up the mast. The pilgrims offer them as a gesture of thanksgiving and wish fulfilment,” said BP Saklani, in charge, Jhanda Mela.
A large number of devotees thronged Guru Ram Rai Darbar on the occasion of the hoisting of Jhanda Sahib in Dehradun on Monday.
A large number of devotees thronged Guru Ram Rai Darbar on the occasion of the hoisting of Jhanda Sahib in Dehradun on Monday. 
Interestingly, the old mast is never discarded but a portion of it is used to make furniture and windows at all Guru Ram Rai schools, colleges and institutions. Event the covers from the old mast are distributed among pilgrims. These are valued as prized possessions by the pilgrims who attach great value to them.
When Darbar Sahib opened its doors, every inch of space was occupied by pilgrims, who would stay here till March 14. “A round the clock community kitchen is running. All our needs will be looked after by the benevolent saint,” said Tek Chand (65), a resident of Ambala.
The hospitality of the Darbar Sahib is legendary. Besides opening its rest rooms to the pilgrims, the schools run by the Guru Ram Rai Mission are also used for providing lodging to the pilgrims. On March 14, the sangat would be formally given a send off by Mahant Devender Das.

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.