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Renaming of Uttaranchal welcomed in the State

DEHRA DUN: The Union Cabinet’s decision to rename Uttaranchal as Uttarakhand has been widely welcomed in this hill State while putting the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party on the defensive as the move might have far-reaching consequences in the upcoming Assembly elections due early next year.The news sparked off instant rejoicing in various districts of the State with people dancing and bursting crackers in Rishikesh, Uttarkashi, Almora, Tehri, Naini Tal, Bageshwar and Pauri.

“We have fulfilled the promise made in our election manifesto and the aspirations of all the Uttarakhandis, ” said Chief Minister Narayan Dutt Tiwari.

Rejoicing at the prospect of a swing in the party’s favour, Uttaranchal Pradesh Congress Committee president Harish Rawat said that the people who were more than pleased with the performance of the Congress Government would now “bless” the party once again.

The firebrand Parliamentary Affairs Minister Indira Hirdeyesh felt that the renaming of the State was in fact an honour to the lakhs of women who had crusaded for creation of the hill State not long ago. “The region was described as Uttarakhand since ancient times and the agitation for a separate hill State was called Uttarakhand movement. This name was, however, replaced by the saffronised version Uttaranchal by the then NDA Government when the State was born. We are only setting things right,” she said.

Congress general secretary Dhirendra Pratap, who had threatened to undertake a fast unto death outside the residence of Sonia Gandhi over the issue, thanked her for fulfilling the dream of the hill folks.

The move has also been welcomed by Kashi Singh Airi, patron of Uttarakhand Kranti Dal, the party that spearheaded the Uttarakhand agitation.

The Bharatiya Janata Party leaders, including former State Chief Minister Bhagat Singh Koshiary, former Ministers Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank and Matwar Singh Kandari have dubbed the move as an election gimmick.

“The changing of the name would cost over Rs.400 crore . The people have seen through the game of wasteful expenditure of the Congress and the BJP will now launch a massive programme to expose corrupt deeds of the Congress regime,” said former Speaker Prakash Pant.