घपले-घोटालों को लेकर निशंक की घेराबंदी करने में बीसी खंडूरी ने हर वो दांव चला जो उन्हें सीएम की कुर्सी पर पुनः बैठा सकता था। सो उत्तराखंड में भाजपा में कथित तौर पर ईमानदार चेहरे के रूप में जाने जाने वाले खंडूरी इन दिनों राज्य को भ्रष्टाचार मुक्त बनाने के दावे दर दावे कर रहे हैं। लेकिन खंडूरी खुद दूध के धुले नहीं है। जी हां, यह पूरी तरह सच है।
इस बात की तस्दीक दुनियाभर में अपने खुलासों से तहलका मचाने वाले विकीलीक्स द्वारा हाल में जारी किए गए केबल से भी होता है। अमेरिका के नई दिल्ली दूतावास की ओर से वाशिंगटन को भेजे गए एक केबल में कहा गया कि 2007 में बीसी खंडूरी की नेतृत्व वाली उत्तराखंड सरकार भ्रष्टाचार में डूबी हुई थी। यह केबल 2009 के लोकसभा चुनाव के दौरान भेजा गया था। केबल में कहा गया- ”BJP-run state government as ideologically bankrupt and only focused on making money. He alleged the government had claimed falsely that Maoist insurgents were coming into the state, rounded up some Nepalese citizens to support these claims, and then requisitioned security supplies from the center to fight the threat the government had engineered.”
अमेरिकी दूतावास ने अपने केबल में 2002 से 2007 तक सत्ता संभालने वाली कांग्रेस पर भी तल्ख टिप्पणी करते हुए उसे भी भ्रष्ट करार दिया। लेकिन राज्य के विकास के लिए एनडी तिवारी की सराहना भी की। केबल में कहा गया कि जनता इस पूर्व सीएम को मिस कर रही है। केबल में कुछ इस तरह गया गया- ”Many of our interlocutors said that the previous Congress Party state government was horribly corrupt, but it also made progress in the development of the state during its tenure. They claimed that the public misses former Congress Chief Minister N. D. Tiwari, saying that he was the only one who had a vision for the state and could move initiatives forward. Now the state has a government that is corrupt but doesn’t follow through on what it has been bribed to do.”
दस साल पहले जन्म लेने वाले उत्तराखंड में भ्रष्टाचार पिछले कुछ सालों में एक केन्द्रीय मुददा बनकर उभरा है। भाजपा और कांग्रेस पर समान रूप से भ्रष्टाचार में आकंठ डूबे रहने का आरोप लगता रहा। यही वजह रही कि 2002 में जब राज्य का पहला आम चुनाव हुआ तो भाजपा का सूपड़ा साफ हो गया। इसके बाद पूरे पांच साल तक कांग्रेस एनडी तिवारी के नेतृत्व में सत्ता में रही। अपने लम्बे राजनीतिक अनुभव के चलते एनडी तिवारी के नेतृत्व में राज्य का मुख्य रूप से औद्यौगिक क्षेत्र में खूब विकास भी हुआ, लेकिन साथ में भ्रष्टाचार की भी खूब फसल बोई और काटी गई। भ्रष्टाचार और घपले-घोटाले सभी मुख्यमंत्रियों के आगे-पीछे लहलहाता रहा। 2007 के विधानसभा चुनाव में इसी मुददे पर कांग्रेस को हार का मुंह देखना पड़ा।
इसके बाद भाजपा सत्ता में आई। कमंडल आंदोलन की पैदाइश पूर्व फौजी बीसी खंडूडी को भाजपा ने राज्य का सीएम बनाया। सीएम बनते ही भ्रष्टाचार के छींटे प्रत्यक्ष न सही तो अप्रत्यक्ष तौर पर खंडूरी पर भी पड़ने शुरू हो गए। देहरादून में संगमरमर और जमीनों के कारोबारी लाला उमेश अग्रवाल और आजकल यूपी में नौकरी बजा रहा नौकरशाह सारंगी उस दौरान खंडूरी के गले की फांस बने रहे। लाला तो अभी भी खंडूरी के गले की हार हैं। नतीजन 2009 के लोकसभा चुनाव तक राज्य में सियासी गलियारों में खूब सारंगी बजती रही। आखिरकार लोकसभा चुनाव में बुरी तरह हार का मुंह देखने के बाद भाजपा आलाकमान ने खंडूरी को ठिकाने लगा दिया। फिर निशंक सीएम बने तो उन्होंने सारी हदें ही पार कर दी। भ्रष्टाचार और निशंक एक दूसरे के पर्याय बन गए। कुर्सी से हटाने से बौखलाये खंडूरी ने भ्रष्टाचार के मुददे पर अब निशंक की घेराबंदी करनी शुरू कर दी।
एक पत्रकार मित्र ने खंडूरी को उत्तराखंड का अन्ना बनाने के लिए जी जान एक कर दी। बाकायदा, भ्रष्टाचार के खिलाफ देशव्यापी अन्ना आंदोलन के ज्वार-भाटे में खंडूरी को अन्ना टोपियां भेंट की गई। आखिरकार निशंक का पत्ता काट दिया गया। सत्ता में लौटते ही खंडूरी ने भ्रष्टाचार के खिलाफ सख्त कदम उठाने का ऐलान किया, लेकिन आज तक वे घपले-घोटालों में फंसे किसी भी नेता या नौकरशाह के खिलाफ रत्तीभर कार्रवाई भी नहीं कर पाये। कुछ नौकरशाहों को तो उन्होंने निशंक से भी दो कदम आगे बढ़कर और भी मलाईदार महकमें सौंप दिए। विकीलीक्स की ओर से पिछले दिनों जारी किए गए अमेरिकी दूतावास के इस केबल से खंडूरी की मुश्किले बढ़ सकती हैं। इस केबल की महत्वपूर्ण बात यह है कि अमेरिका की नजर में 2009 के लोकसभा चुनाव तक खंडूरी सरकार वैचारिक रूप से पतित और पैसा बनाने में जुटी हुई थी।
माओवाद के नाम पर भी खंडूरी सरकार केन्द्रीय अनुदान पाने के लिए हवा खड़ी कर रही थी। वरिष्ठ पत्रकार प्रशांत राही समेत आधा दर्जन से अधिक जनवादी कार्यकर्ताओं की गिरफ्तारी इसी दौर में हुई। राही पिछले दिनों ही साढ़े तीन साल जेल में रहने के बाद जमानत पर रिहा हो पाए। निशंक के पतन के बाद पिछले एक माह से खंडूरी फिर राज्य में सीएम की कुर्सी पर बैठे हुए हैं। खंडूरी के आगे-पिछवाड़े आज भी कई बदनाम चेहरे घूम रहे हैं। जो लोग निशंक के दौर में तड़ीपार किए गए थे, आज वे सत्ता के गलियारों में मंडराते देखे जा सकते हैं। विकीलीक्स का यह खुलासा जहां खंडूरी के लिए परेशानी पैदा करने वाला हैं, वहीं एनडी तिवारी के लिए यह थोड़ी राहत देने वाला है, साथ ही उस कांग्रेस के लिए भी जो चुनाव की इस गहमागहमी के बीच अभी तक खंडूरी को निशाना बनाने से बचने की कोशिश करती रही है।
…ये है उत्तराखंड के बारे में जारी विकीलीक्स केबल…
विकीलीक्स की वेबसाइट पर प्रकाशित केबल का स्क्रीनशाट. वेबसाइट पर प्रकाशित केबल को आप यहीं नीचे पढ़ सकते हैं या फिर उपर के स्क्रीनशाट पर क्लिक करके या फिर इस लिंक http://wikileaks.org/cable/2009/05/09NEWDELHI987.html पर क्लिक करके पढ़ सकते हैं.
Viewing cable 09NEWDELHI987, BHARAT BALLOT 2009: UTTARAKHAND SUFFERING FROM
SUBJECT BHARAT BALLOT 2009: UTTARAKHAND SUFFERING FROM
DATE 2009-05-15 00:00:00
CLASSIFICATION UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
ORIGIN Embassy New Delhi
TEXT UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 NEW DELHI 000987
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV, PTER, PREL, PINR, KDEM, IN
SUBJECT: BHARAT BALLOT 2009: UTTARAKHAND SUFFERING FROM
LACK OF DEVELOPMENT, DIVISION AMONG ITS PEOPLE
REF: NEW DELHI 933
1. (SBU) Summary: PolOff and PolFSN traveled north to UTTARAKHAND on May 11 to assess the political landscape of this small state with five parliamentary seats up for grabs. In discussions with a mix of local journalists, academics, business leaders, and state civil servants, the themes that we heard over and over again were a need for jobs and development, the damage of corruption, and how the state needs an integrated plan to meet the different needs of the hill districts and the plains region to move the entire state forward. Another recurring topic was how both the Congress and the BJP treated UTTARAKHAND as a hill state instead of a composite of the two regions. Some of our interlocutors claimed that the state government has exacerbated the differences between the regions by favoring people from the hills when it came to the disbursement of development funds and hiring for government jobs. The conventional wisdom of political watchers was that the BJP and Congress would maintain control of the two parliamentary seats that each has in the state and one seat may switch from the Samajwadi Party to the Bahujan Samaj Party. End Summary.
2. (U) Driving into the capital city of Dehradun from its airport, PolOff noticed a distinct difference in the quality of life compared to that of western Uttar Pradesh, the state that UTTARAKHAND broke away from in 2000. Most houses looked like they had been stuccoed and freshly painted, instead of made of raw brick. Many of them were two stories. Trees are abundant and the air is fresher. The wide flat valley is surrounded on one side by forested hills, and on the other, by much higher mountains, a sharp reminder that we were in the foothills of the Himalayas. The two-lane road wound through forest for much of our thirty-minute journey to the capital.
Looks Like An Election
3. (SBU) Another noticeable difference from Uttar Pradesh was that in UTTARAKHAND the political parties had decided to put some of their limited campaign money – the amount they can spend is restricted by the Election Commission — into the traditional party banners, posters, and billboards. Most pictured their national party leaders with the local candidate to ensure that the cost of the advertising will come out of the national party’s funds, not the candidate’s. The regional Bahujan Samaj Party and Samajwadi Party had put up some posters and billboards, but most belonged to the Congress party and the BJP. On May 11, the last day allowed for campaigning, we saw that the BJP and Congress had sound trucks out in one of the roadside villages. In Dehradun, a BJP motorcycle rally passed by our hotel a few times, with flags flying and the riders chanting their party’s name. Rental cars were scarce in the capital because the political parties had rented them for campaigning; we paid twice the normal rate for ours.
Desperately Desiring Development
4. (SBU) Our interlocutors in Dehradun said the highest priority in the state is the need for development. Many places further up in the hills need schools, health care, and public transportation. The government-run hospital in Dehradun lacks the facilities to diagnose and treat cancer. Many roads are inadequate and lack guard rails, an important safety feature in an area where many roads have precipitous drop-offs at their sides. This issue was brought home on the two-lane road to Mussoorie, a hill station established by the British in the 1800s and one of UTTARAKHAND’s main tourist attractions today; carved out of the hillside, the road has guardrails and small concrete barriers but little else to keep one from plummeting over the edge for thousands of feet should the driver’s skills fail going around many of its NEW DELHI 00000987 002 OF 003 hairpin curves. There is no shoulder next to the road for the most part.
5. (SBU) One journalist characterized the BJP-run state government as ideologically bankrupt and only focused on making money. He alleged the government had claimed falsely that Maoist insurgents were coming into the state, rounded up some Nepalese citizens to support these claims, and then requisitioned security supplies from the center to fight the threat the government had engineered. The government has also closed down three power plant projects because of environmental concerns and political pressure from Hindu nationalists opposed to disrupting the flow of the Ganges, which they consider sacred. The government supposedly wants to make UTTARAKHAND a tourism-focused state, but our journalist interlocutor said it has no policy for bringing more tourists into the state.
6. (SBU) Many of our interlocutors said that the previous Congress Party state government was horribly corrupt, but it also made progress in the development of the state during its tenure. They claimed that the public misses former Congress Chief Minister N. D. Tiwari, saying that he was the only one who had a vision for the state and could move initiatives forward. Now the state has a government that is corrupt but doesn’t follow through on what it has been bribed to do.
7. (SBU) The assessment we received in Dehradun was that the BJP candidates are not talking about development during the parliamentary election campaign, but instead are making emotional speeches designed to appeal to voters’ caste or religious identities. The Congress Party candidates aren’t talking about the party’s vision for the state either. Their campaigns are based on criticism of the BJP state government. If the BJP loses the electoral race, it will be a vote against the party’s control of the state, not a vote for Congress. Currently, the BJP holds two seats in parliament, the Congress Party has two seats, and the Samajwadi Party controls the remaining one. A Dehradun business leader and former BJP supporter said that Congress is the only party qualified to rule India because the Prime Minister is an economist and former Finance Minister. He had doubts about the BJP’s abilities to handle such issues.
BSP Making Inroads
8. (SBU) Many of our interlocutors took note of the race for the Haridwar seat, which has been designated as a reserved seat — one set aside for scheduled caste or scheduled tribe candidates — through the recent nation-wide redistricting exercise. If the Dalits and the Muslims – combined the two groups make up around half of Haridwar’s electorate – support the BSP, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati’s party is likely to win the seat because the other half of the electorate will be split between Congress and the BJP. One of our interlocutors said that the BSP candidate, who is a Muslim, is best qualified because he is a former member of the legislative assembly and he “talks sense.” It was not yet clear to our contacts, however, that the Muslim and Dalit communities would vote as a block.
9. (U) The Nainital-Udhamsingh Nagar parliamentary district features a three-cornered fight between the BJP, the BSP, and the Congress. Our interlocutors said that both the BJP and Congress Party were running strong candidates. The Congress candidate is the incumbent, K. C. Singh Baba. The BSPcandidate has been working the constituency for two years. With Nainital as with Haridwar, the race will depend upon how cohesive the minority communities are in casting their votes.
Holy City of Haridwar Full of Resentment
10. (SBU) Haridwar, considered one of the holiest places in NEW DELHI 00000987 003 OF 003 India, has many temples, with saffron-clad pilgrims walking along the road, billboards of Lord Ram, a large statue of the god Shiva near the river, and a profusion of ghats — steps along the riverbank — to ease the way for ritualistic bathing where the Ganges flows through the town. BJP campaign flags and billboards dominated the area; there were few Congress posters to be seen. Haridwar also has a noticeable population of people living in lean-tos made up of scrap material. Apparently not all of Haridwar’s residents can afford to enjoy “Fun Valley,” the water park sporting depictions of Winnie the Pooh and Shrek on its walls that is located among farmland and lumber yards on the road between Haridwar and Dehradun.
11. (SBU) We sat down with a group of community leaders, including professors, a businessman and a religious instructor who all supported the BJP, claiming only a national party like the BJP can run the country. They criticized the regional parties, such as the BSP and the Samajwadi Party, for caring only about parochial interests, saying that they are ill-equipped to take care of India’s external affairs. Their ideal candidate for Parliament would be someone who adhered to the ideology of the national party, who led a clean life with no hint of corruption, but who was from the area and in touch with the grass roots. They assessed that the BJP candidate for Haridwar was close enough to that ideal to gain their support.
12. (SBU) Nevertheless, the discussants were quite dissatisfied with the BJP’s running of the state and they said they’ve made that clear to the party. When UTTARAKHAND split from Uttar Pradesh, much of the impetus behind that fight was to break away from a capital that ignored the hill region. Now the reverse is happening and both the BJP and Congress treat UTTARAKHAND as a hill state and ignore the plains region, according to our interlocutors from plains-city Haridwar. They said that this is breeding resentment among the public towards the state government in the three plains districts. They claimed that the BJP sidelines any up and comers from the plains in its party; all of the political leadership is from the hills. Government jobs primarily go to applicants from the hills. Even development funds from the central government that were specifically designated for the plains region have gone to waste because the state government refused to use them, instead demanding more money for the hills region.
13. (SBU) When UTTARAKHAND became a state, a regulation was instituted that no one can be considered a native of the state unless they can prove that they or their ancestors lived there before 1930. Otherwise, they are considered a permanent resident and receive fewer benefits from the state. This exacerbates the hills/plains divide because most of the people who moved into the state after 1930 settled in the plains region. Our interlocutors assessed that this growing resentment toward the BJP and Congress is opening up an opportunity for the BSP to win the Haridwar seat, which has fielded a local Muslim. No one gave the Samajwadi Party much chance of maintaining control of the seat.
14. (SBU) Comment: UTTARAKHAND’s natural beauty and holy sites attract religious tourists as well as people trying to escape the heat of the great Gangetic plain. The young state has a long way to go before it can reap the fruits that were envisioned in 2000 when it became a separate state. Despite the poor development record and many resentments among the voters, the BJP is likely to maintain its control over two seats with the Congress keeping its two seats. The one seat that is most likely to change hands is Haridwar, if Mayawati and her candidate can consolidate the Dalit and Muslim vote.
लेखक दीपक आजाद उत्तराखंड के युवा और बेबाक पत्रकार हैं. कई अखबारों-पत्रिकाओं में काम कर चुके हैं. साफ-साफ और खरी-खरी बात लिखने के लिए जाने जाते हैं. उनसे संपर्क firstname.lastname@example.org के जरिए किया जा सकता है.