By ARUN PRATAP SINGH
HARIDWAR, 6 Aug: Former Chief Minister and veteran Congress leader Harish Rawat today announced that he would be undertaking fast at Chief Minister’s residence against deferring Panchayat polls in Haridwar on 18 August now, instead of the pre scheduled date of 7 August. Harish Rawat was addressing the media at Press Club here today. He claimed that the manner in which the delimitation and reservation of panchayats was done in Haridwar, it appeared that the system of Panchayat elections was not being run by the government but by a gang. The gang was not sure of its victory in the Panchayat elections and therefore was adopting delaying tactics The former CM said that he would undertake fast alone at the Chief Minister’s residence on 18 August against delimitation of panchayats, reservation and unemployment and inflation. Before that he would also undertake a walk of 3 kilometres in SIDCUL Haridwar on the same issues on 16 August. Rawat claimed that the government at the Centre was misusing the institutions like Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Enforcement Directorate (ED), Income Tax, Vigilance by using them as a tool kit. The autonomy of these institutions has been hijacked. As long as the government continued to interfere in them, the Congressmen would continue to do satyagraha. The Congress veteran further claimed that inflation and unemployment have reached their peak. Uttarakhand has the highest unemployment rate in India. By imposing GST on everything from pulses, rice, flour, the life of the common man has been made miserable by the government. The former CM said that whatever was happening in Haridwar regarding the Panchayati system was not a sign of healthy democracy. Therefore, he was being forced to fast in front of the residence of Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami. However instead of fasting on 7 August as had been scheduled earlier, he would now fast on 18 as the Chief Minister was going to be in Delhi for next few days. He said that instead of opening up government recruitments in the armed forces, the government has handed over a lollypop under the name of Agnipath scheme which would eliminate chances of permanent employment in the armed forces. In the period of next 10 years, all the regiments would reach the verge of extinction. During the press interaction, Congress leaders Rao Ashfaq Ali, Satpal Brahmachari, Santosh Chauhan, Manish Karnwal, former city president Ravi Babu Sharma etc. were involved.