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Posted at: Aug 10, 2015, 12:21 AM; last updated: Aug 9, 2015, 10:42 PM (IST)POLITICAL DIARY

CM harps on Gairsain issue for political mileage

Sees it an opportunity to return to power in 2017

Course of events

  • Gairsain is the place which was envisaged as the state capital during the statehood agitation. However, after the formation of the state on November 9, 2000, Dehradun was made thetemporary capital of the state. The interim government headed by Chief Minister Nityanand Swami set up a commission headed by Justice (retd) Virender Dixit in 2001 to ascertain the suitability of a place for permanent capital. The commission found thatGairsain was less viable for the permanent capital.

SMA Kazmi

Tribune News Service

Dehradun, August 9

The recent salvo fired by former Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna questioning the holding of the Assembly session at Gairsain in Chamoli next month in tents has given another opportunity to Chief Minister Harish Rawat to gain political mileage on the emotional issue of making Gairsain as the permanent state capital.

In his reply to Bahuguna, Chief Minister Harish Rawat has stated that he has only forwarded the policy adopted by him. It was Vijay Bahuguna who held a Cabinet meeting and also laid the foundation stone of a new Assembly building at Gairsain.

Gairsain is the place which was envisaged as the state capital during the statehood agitation. However, after the formation of the state on November 9, 2000, Dehradun was made the temporary capital of the state.

The interim government headed by Chief Minister Nityanand Swami set up a commission headed by Justice (retd) Virender Dixit to find the suitability of a place for permanent capital in 2001. The commission after nearly eight years submitted its report in 2008 which was also placed before the state Assembly.

The commission which looked into the feasibility of five places — Dehradun, Gairsain, Rishikesh, Kahipur and Ramnagar — as the state capital on several parameters, including geographic conditions, population, accessibility, transport system, proneness to earthquake or landslides and security. The commission found that Gairsain was less viable for the location of the permanent capital.

However, since the report did not suit the politicians as nobody wanted to go against Gairsain as the sentiments of the statehood agitators were involved, the report was not implemented.

The question of the permanent capital of the state has been hanging but it was former Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna who played the Gairsain card after the defeat of his son Saket Bahuguna in the Tehri Lok Sabha byelection in October 2012.

However, while he laid the foundation stone of the Assembly building at Gairsain, he also laid the foundation stone of a new building of the Vidhan Sabha at Raipur in Dehradun.

After Harish Rawat took over the reins of the state in February 2014, he also held a session of the state Assembly in a tent in summers of 2014. Again he has proposed to hold an Assembly session at Gairsain from September 21, which was opposed by Bahuguna on the ground that it would incur expenditure for the state which is facing resource crunch.

It seems that the Chief minister would latch on the issue as most of his close associates, including Speaker Govind Singh Kunjwal and state Congress chief Kishore Upadhyay are for declaring Gairsain as the permanent capital of the state. They believe that such a move before the 2017 Assembly elections would help the Congress and Chief Minister Harish Rawat to return to power.

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