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Tribune (2004.12.21): UKD for Gairsain as capital of Uttaranchal

Tribune News Service, Dehra Dun, December 21

With the basic issue of a permanent capital remaining unaddressed, Uttaranchal is seeing demonstrations intensifying like never before. Backed by the most prominent regional party in the hill state, the UKD (Uttarakhand Kranti Dal), hundreds of activists trekked down to the capital and staged a dharna outside the Vidhan Sabha over their demand to make Gairsain the permanent capital.

Held with the idea of pressuring the ND Tiwari-led Congress government to shift the capital to Gairsain, the 15-day-long ‘padyatra’ undertaken by the activists began from Gairsain and culminated here. Hundreds of activists, including women, raised slogans against the Congress Government for lacking the political will to address what they called a basic issue close to the people of the state. The demonstrations have been on in other parts of the state, largely in Gairsain, for a few months now.

Speaking to newspersons here, UKD President BD Raturi said the agitation would now be centered at the capital to ensure that the activists were heard. The activists planned to gherao the Vidhan Sabha during the winter session from January 10. Making Gairsain the permanent capital would ensure that the benefits of the formation of the new state trickled down to those who deserved them rather than being concentrated in the corridors of power, he said.

The activists accused the BJP and the Congress of brushing the issue under the carpet when in power and demanded that they came clean on their stand on the issue. Despite tireless rallies and fasts throughout the state, the government has maintained its non-committal stand on the issue, which has forced the activists to concentrate their demonstrations in the capital.

Meanwhile, a UKD delegation led by Mr Kashi Singh Aery left for Delhi to take up the issue with the central leadership, including the President, the Prime Minister and Opposition leaders urging them to bring up the issue in Parliament. A dharna would be staged in New Delhi to draw attention towards the issue, sources in the party said. [more]