CM Rawat trumps BJP with Ramdev’s Kedarnath visithttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/politics/cm-rawat-trumps-bjp-with-ramdevs-kedarnath-visit/

CM Rawat trumps BJP with Ramdev’s Kedarnath visit

Former CM Bhagat Singh Koshiyari, now BJP MP from Nainital, has demanded that the state hand over Kedarnath’s infrastructure development to the centre.

Next to Ramdev is Ranjit Rawat, aide of CM Rawat. (Source: Express photo by Virender Singh Negi)
Next to Ramdev is Ranjit Rawat, aide of CM Rawat. (Source: Express photo by Virender Singh Negi)

A visit by Baba Ramdev to the Kedarnath shrine last week appears to have handed the aces to the Congress government in Uttarakhand against the BJP.

Ramdev praised Harish Rawat as “an able CM” after his return from a visit on which he was accompanied by one of the chief minister’s closets aides, former MLA Ranjit Singh Rawat. Apart from sending out the message that the politically influential yoga guru is no longer out of bounds for the Congress in Uttarakhand, it also allows the Congress to steal a march on the BJP.

The same Congress government, then under CM Vijay Bahuguna, had registered a series of revenue-related cases against Ramdev’s Patanjali Yogapeeth just before the Lok Sabha elections.

What has caused the BJP all the more cause for consternation is Rawat’s latest move to invite Haridwar-based priests to Kedarnath so that they can see for themselves the reconstruction work undertaken by the government after the June 2013 flash floods. Those who have already visited include Mahamandaleshwar Kailashanand Brahamchari, Satpal Brahamchari, Swami Mohandas and Swami Shivanand Bharti.

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Morari Bapu, too, recently visited Kedarnath to offer prayers. Although the trip was planned by Morari himself, the CM was with him at Kedar valley’s Agastyamuni town where the bapu distributed cheques to a number of the disaster victims, apart from donating Rs 1 crore to the Badri-Kedarnath temple committee. “We want spiritual leaders to look at the reconstruction work and make suggestions. They have a large number of followers and can spread a positive message about the state,” Chief Minister Rawat told The Indian Express over the phone. Next among Rawat’s planned invitations are Sudhanshu Maharaj and the Art of Living’s Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.

“We want spiritual leaders to look at the reconstruction work and make suggestions. They have a large number of followers and can spread a positive message about the state,” Chief Minister Rawat told The Indian Express over the phone. Next among Rawat’s planned invitations are Sudhanshu Maharaj and the Art of Living’s Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.

“The CM should focus on welfare schemes. The government has done nothing to generate jobs for people in areas hit by the disaster,” said the BJP’s Uttarakhand president Tirath Singh Rawat. “The trek route to Kedarnath is not yet in proper shape.”

Former CM Bhagat Singh Koshiyari, now BJP MP from Nainital, has demanded that the state hand over Kedarnath’s infrastructure development to the centre.

Such criticism explains the way Rawat is dealing with Kedarnath. “He has given special focus on highlighting the reconstruction work. His decision to hold a cabinet meeting in Kedarnath was part of a strategy to stop the BJP from using against the government their allegations of mishandling of of the situation ,” a Congress source said.Last week, Rawat held an all-party meeting at Kedarnath, besides the cabinet meeting. The BJP was the only party that turned Rawat’s invitation down. Now, Rawat has announced that he will constitute a cabinet subcommittee to hold talks with the BJP and get its suggestions for infrastructure development work.

Last week, Rawat held an all-party meeting at Kedarnath, besides the cabinet meeting. The BJP was the only party that turned Rawat’s invitation down. Now, Rawat has announced that he will constitute a cabinet subcommittee to hold talks with the BJP and get its suggestions for infrastructure development work.

Another key issue on which Rawat has tried to upstage the BJP is the Centre’s “Clean Ganga” mission. Soon after the Modi government’s announcement about its budget for cleaning the river, the Rawat government made a detailed presentation to Union Minister for Water Resources and Ganga Rejuvenation Uma Bharti seeking assistance of Rs 10,000 crore. “The Uttarakhand government wants its own sub-plan for Clean Ganga. After all the Ganga originates from Uttarakhand,” a state government source said. The Rawat government has also launched a scheme, Hamare Bujurga, Hamare Tirthayatri, to finance and arrange the Char Dham Yatra for people aged over 60. “Till date, about 3,000 pilgrims of Uttarakhand have benefited from the scheme. From next year, the government will take such pilgrims from every district’s headquarters,” said Surendra Kumar, media adviser to the CM.

The Rawat government has also launched a scheme, Hamare Bujurga, Hamare Tirthayatri, to finance and arrange the Char Dham Yatra for people aged over 60. “Till date, about 3,000 pilgrims of Uttarakhand have benefited from the scheme. From next year, the government will take such pilgrims from every district’s headquarters,” said Surendra Kumar, media adviser to the CM.