Uttarakhand Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat on Monday indicated the possibility of relaxations of Covid-induced curbs to increase the turnout of devotees at the Kumbh Mela in Haridwar
Addressing BJP workers for the first time after taking charge as CM, Rawat said that earlier, there was an atmosphere of fear in Haridwar due to restrictions, which had upset the akharas. He said he took up the issue with officers.
“In the meeting, I asked the secretary to respect akharas, shower flowers on them by helicopters, but also let the public come,” Rawat said. “Akharas are taking out processions and there is no audience because you stopped the people from attending… The public should come, don’t stop them.”
According to the CM, when he gave the directive, the officers cited Central guidelines and court directives. To that, Rawat said he informed the officers that he will answer to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP national president JP Nadda on this.
The CM added that he has directed that there should be no “rok-tok” (impediments) . “You speak about negative (Covid-19) reports. Lakhs of people will come. How many of them will you check? …Can you handle that?” he said, claiming that the solution is to follow Central guidelines which “ask us to wear masks and use sanitizers”.
Rawat also said that development authorities in rural and hill areas were established not for public welfare but to make officers “earn and harass people”.
Meanwhile, newly-appointed state BJP president Madan Kaushik said that he, along with Rawat, will stand with party workers and the party will win next election with at least 60 seats.