By Shashi Bhushan
New Delhi, 1 Aug (IANS): Former Uttarakhand Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat, who resigned within four months, has said that he took the decision to avoid a constitutional and legal crisis in the state after consulting the BJP central leadership and no one asked him to put in his papers.
In an exclusive interview with IANS, he also said that when he was appointed Chief Minister of the state, “some people” started a conspiracy to malign his image.
What would you say about your short tenure as chief minister of Uttarakhand?
No one asked me to resign. After consulting the party central leadership, I took the decision to resign from the office of chief minister to avoid a constitutional and legal crisis. I thank Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, BJP president J.P. Nadda and all the central leadership for showing faith and trust in me for giving me an opportunity to lead Uttarakhand. It all happened suddenly in the middle of the budget session when the party leadership asked me to take over as the chief minister of Uttarakhand.
But due to some constitutional provisions a crisis was in the making. To avoid the constitutional and legal crisis, I decided to resign after consulting the party leadership and they supported my decision.
At the start of your tenure as Chief Minister, lots of statements made headlines due to wrong reasons. What would you say about those controversial comments?
All the statements, which made headlines, were taken out of context and it was done in a well planned strategy by some people as part of a conspiracy. I come from an ideological background and spoke about what is good for Janta (people), Kshatra (region) and Pradesh (state).
I did my ‘mann ki baat’ but some people had created mann- bhram (confusion) by showing edited and manipulated statements.
You faced lots of criticism for being allowed to hold Kumbh, which was termed as one of the main reasons for the second wave of Covid. Now, do you feel it was a wrong decision?
Kumbh is held once in 12 years. On the second day as chief minister, I took the decision to hold kumbh on a grand scale as it is a matter of people’s faith and sentiment. Later, at the Prime Minister’s appeal, heads of akhada did not participate in the last shahi snan.
An atmosphere was created against the Kumbh to hurt people’s sentiment, which was held following all the Covid protocol and SOP (standard operating procedure) laid down by the union government. We even returned many people in absence of Covid negative report. It was one of the best Kumbhs ever organised.
People, who were blaming Kumbh for the spread of the second wave, can they tell if there was any Kumbh held in Kerala, Maharashtra and Delhi from where Covid started? Haridwar was never among the top three infected districts during Kumbh, or peak of the second wave or even now in terms of daily case count.
An atmosphere and propaganda was created against the Kumbh by people who are against Hindus and Hindutva.
Why isn’t anyone questioning Kerala, which reports more than 50 per cent of total daily case count, for allowing relaxation for bakrid festival despite the Supreme Court? Blaming kumbh and saying nothing about Kerala model of appeasement during pandemic shows anti Hindu mindset of these people.
How do you see BJP’s prospects in next year’s assembly polls?
Assembly polls will be held in five states –Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Goa and Manipur — in February-March next year. BJP will win all the state polls including Uttarakhand with two-thirds majority and the only reason is the ‘vikas’ (development) model of Narendra Modi. Since 2014, Prime Minister Modi has connected the common man with the development and Uttarakhand has reached a new height of development.
While taking the country to the new height of development, Prime Minister Modi has also taken care of people during the pandemic by providing rations to 80 crore people under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana and Uttarakhand also provided suger under the scheme.
India under the leadership of Prime Minister became the only country to provide free vaccines to citizens and Uttarakhand is vaccinating elderly and divyang people at their doorstep.
In the last five years under the guidance of the Prime Minister, Uttarakhand ensured regular electric supply to all the villages, working on providing tap water, roads networks from rural to national highways have been strengthened and increased. Rail connectivity has increased in the state. Once the people of Uttarakhand who used to demand for roads are now demanding for rail connectivity.
Based on the work, I am saying that the BJP will win the assembly polls with two thirds majority in Uttarakhand and other states.
Arvind Kejirwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has announced contesting the Uttarakhand Assembly polls. Do you see any challenge from AAP?
In democracy everyone has the right to contest elections. But I want to know what he (Kejriwal) will say about his government’s achievements in Delhi. His much hyped ‘Delhi Model’ has failed and was exposed during the first wave of the Covid when Union Home Minister Amit Shah had to step in to control the situation.
Kejriwal’s world class ‘Mohalla Clinics’ failed during the pandemic, while the BJP government in Uttarakhand provided the health facility at door steps making ‘Ghar- Ghar Clinic’. While he is promising free electricity everywhere, people in Delhi are getting inflated bills.
While AAP and Kejriwal misled the people, BJP did what it said. People of Uttarakhand are of a different nature, they are nationalist and are with Modi. People are not misled by the false promises of Kejriwal.
So, you think the BJP is in direct fight with the Congress?
We are not facing any challenges from any party, people are with us. The Congress leaders are fighting among themselves and losing ground in the state and across the country. First they should put their house in order before taking on the BJP which has made place in the hearts of people.