Assembly session in Dehradun exposes fissures in Congress on Gairsain

  • | Saturday | 2nd March, 2024

The fissures within the State unit of the Congress on the summer capital of the State Gairsain were on display during the budget session of the Vidhan Sabha held in Dehradun from February 26 to 29. While the organisation of the Congress party raised the issue of neglect of Gairsain in a forceful manner and attacked the State government for holding the budget session in Dehradun instead of the summer capital, the Congress legislators were conspicuous by their indifference towards the emotive issue of Gairsain inside the Assembly. The Congress legislature party (CLP) raised the issues of corruption, law and order and unemployment in the house but was not as vocal as expected on Gairsain. To make things difficult for the party, the Kiccha MLA Tilakraj Behed stated in the house that the long-pending issue of permanent capital of the State should be resolved and Dehradun should be made the permanent capital of Uttarakhand. Though a red faced Congress quickly distanced itself from Beheds comment, it exposed the fissure lines in the party over the sensitive issue of Gairsain. The State unit of the party led by the Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) president Karan Mahara organised a symbolic session of the State Assembly in Gairsain in an attempt to corner the Pushkar Singh Dhami government on neglect of Gairsain. It also invited members of the INDIA bloc and members of civil society in the symbolic session in Gairsain on February 27. The symbolic session was successful with issues including land laws, Agnipath scheme, unemployment, Ankita Bhandari murder case and corruption in government offices being discussed in it. Former chief minister and senior Congress leader Harish Rawat also held a silent protest in Gandhi Park against the decision to hold the budget session in Dehradun on February 26. Rawat attacked the government for running away from Gairsain and reminded that the Vidhan Sabha had passed a resolution during his tenure as CM that the Assemblys budget session would be organised in Gairsain.  With the State unit of the Congress and former CM Rawat strongly raising the Gairsain issue outside the Assembly it was expected that the Congress legislature party would corner the government on the issue inside the Assembly during the budget session. However the Congress legislators appeared unconcerned about Gairsain. It is believed that the divisions within the CLP over Gairsain came as a hurdle in the way of Congress raising the issue in the Assembly. Notably, some Congress MLAs had signed the letter in which a request was made that the budget session should not be held in Gairsain in view of the cold weather. When contacted, the Leader of Opposition (LoP) in Assembly Yashpal Arya said that he raised the issue of Gairsain during his speech on the address of the governor. On Beheds statement that Dehradun should be made the permanent capital of Uttarakhand, Arya said that it could be Beheds personal view and added that the stand of the Congress party is clear according to which Gairsain should be made the permanent capital of the State.

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