Khatima, February 9
As Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami’s cavalcade hurtles along the unpaved village road leading to Bangaoa village in his constituency Khatima, villagers standing by the roadside chuckle with satisfaction.
“He is experiencing what we go through every day,” says a villager referring to the poor condition of the road.
Once Dhami reaches his destination — the residence of the Bangaoa sarpanch — there is the usual hustle and bustle. Sikh farmers in the village have been demanding for long regularisation of ownership of lands controlled by them. Dhami assures them of looking into their demand.
Opposition brings up poor amenities
Roads in Khatina town get flooded even if there is moderate rain. Dhami has not taken any initiative to get sewer pipe laid for draining the water. —Bhuwan Chandra Kapri, Congress candidate
On his way back Dhami stops by at a market. He mingles with people there briefly and then leaves for his next destination.
Talking to The Tribune during one such stopover, Dhami says during the past five years, projects worth Rs 1.5 lakh crore has been sanctioned for Uttarakhand by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “We have done a lot of work. Khatima is, of course, my karmabhoomi (workplace). But all across Uttarakhand we have executed various projects under the leadership of PM Modi. Citing these achievements we are going to people and seeking their blessings,” says the CM.
Dhami brushes aside reports that Sikh voters, who have a strong presence in the Assembly constituencies of Udham Singh Nagar, may not vote for the BJP. “I am a farmer myself. All farmers are with me. There is no truth in the propaganda that farmers will oppose the BJP,” says Dhami.
Uttarakhand voters are known for bringing in a new government every five years, but Dhami says Modi has been able to change the pattern. “Look at Assam and Haryana (in both states BJP has been able to secure two consecutive terms),” says Dhami. “Only the drivers have changed. The train has remained the same,” Dhami, who took over as the CM in July 2021, said about the BJP experiment of anointing different people as Chief Minister with Dhami being the third CM of the regime elected in 2017.
A two-time MLA from the constituency, Dhami is not finding the road easy to make it to the Assembly from Khatima for a third straight term. He is seen as one who was indifferent to voters during his two stints as an MLA.
Congress candidate Bhuwan Chandra Kapri says the roads in Khatina get flooded even if there is only moderate rain. “Dhami has not taken any initiative to get sewer pipe laid for draining the water,” adds Kapri. “The foundation stone for a stadium in Khatima was laid five years ago by the Congress government. Nothing has been done since then to take the word forward,” alleges Kapri.
Vote on performance, not promises: Nadda
Agastyamuni (Kedarnath): BJP chief JP Nadda on Wednesday asked people in Uttarakhand not to get carried away by tall promises being made by political parties and vote only on the basis of their report cards. “It is election time. Leaders of all hues will come and make promises galore. Don’t get taken in by what they say,” Nadda said. PTI
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