Sunday, March 26, 2017

A new revolving door?

The tiny hill state of Uttarakhand was created out of the hill districts of UP in 2000, which were seen as being neglected by the leadership from the planes in Lucknow. Since then, the state has seen quite a bit of political instability (although not of the kind that Jharkhand experienced till the BJP's resounding win in 2014), changing CMs every other year. And, far from the hill districts getting their due, the two plane districts of Haridwar and Uddham Singh Nagar have seen their populations swell, while the hill districts continue to depopulate.

It was in this sad state of affairs that the beautiful state entered the 2017 election cycle, with a tainted administration under Harish Rawat. What most people in the Delhi media circle don't realize is that, even though UK has been separate from UP for almost two decades now, the politics of the two are quite interrelated, not least because young men and women still go to UP for work. Therefore, if Narendra Modi was sweeping UP, especially Western UP, then it could only mean that UK was also primed for a BJP sweep. And that's exactly what happened, with the BJP picking up a three-fourths majority in the hills, that too without a CM face. Added to this victory is the fact that many turncoats from the Congress also won on a BJP ticket (including in Roorkee, my home of three years).

The surprising selection on Trivendra Singh Rawat as Chief Minister only adds to the fact that this was a vote for PM Modi. That said however, UK seems to be settling in to the revolving door cycle, alternating between BJP and Congress governments in states where only the two are in contention, although in recent years, the BJP seems to be winning most of those contests. While this can be bad news for the current CM, it presents an opportunity for the state to stabilize politically, and hopefully lift itself from the mess it's in. For now though, the CM needs to finish the agenda of 2000 and find a permanent capital - if hat has to be Dehradun, so be it. 

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