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Gairsain within reach?

The 2012-2017 assembly presents some unique opportunities for pushing forward pro-hill policies. Given that the Congress-led government will have a 3:1 ratio of MLAs coming from the hills, a change in policy orientation is a distinct possibility.

The potential dangers of course are present as in any finely balanced hung assembly. Any MLA can press their case and pull the rug from under the government in a pique or for personal ambition. However, despite the UKD’s drubbing, its lone MLA has the potential to push forward various policies that are held close to the heart of almost all regional parties.

Chief amongst these is Gairsain. While setting up a complete capital in Gairsain or in the surrounding area will take many years of careful planning and construction, there have always been a few interim plans that could be enacted immediately. For example, holding a Darbar or Sammelan where government officials and ministers would camp in Gairsain in the summer to hear to voices of the people might provide one opportunity to broaden democracy.

In the long term, the completion of the Rishikesh-Karanprayag rail line will greatly facilitate the eventual relocation of the capital. The government could give an assurance and fund linking roads to Karanprayag from the east and west.