Uttarakhand Elections 2017: This Sleepy Town May Become State Capital After Polls

Uttarakhand Elections 2017: This Sleepy Town May Become State Capital After Polls

BJP, Congress have blamed each other for not making Gairsain the Uttarakhand capital.

Dehradun: Gairsain, a small and sleepy hill-village tucked away in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand, is passing its days in obscurity even 16 years after statehood protesters started a campaign pressing for making the village the hill-state's permanent capital.

Outside the state very few people have heard about the village located not far from the Nanda Devi National Park.

During the years of statehood agitation in the late '90s, Gairsain was considered as an ideal choice for the capital for it could best represent the hilly state, highlighting the issues plaguing it and restricting its development.    

Development was the key issue behind the statehood demand. However, when Uttarakhand was given statehood in 2000, Dehradun was made the provisional capital.

For 16 years now, the BJP and Congress have been engaged in blame game when questioned about Gairsain's status, something the parties have been using for electoral benefits.

The BJP in its manifesto for 2017, released on Saturday, pledged to declare Gairsain as the state's summer capital and also sought a resolution to declare it the permanent capital in the Vidhan Sabha, if elected to power.  

Likewise, the Congress, which released its manifesto today, has expressed its willingness to set up an office for the Chief Minister in Gairsain to make sure that all state affairs be conducted from the village by the Chief Minister for a week every month.

The Congress has also pledged to commence an assembly session from the village this year.

In 2012, then Congress Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna, had laid the foundation for the Vidhan Sabha in Gairsain though construction for the same picked up pace under his successor Harish Rawat. The cost for the project has already exceeded Rs 106 crore and its construction is currently stalled.

The Congress also held a cabinet meeting and a two-day assembly session at Gairsain on November 17 and 18 last year, as a mark of its ostensible commitment to the proposed 'capital'.

Critics have pointed out that Gairsain has only tuned into a poll plank and the BJP and Congress merely pay lip-services to the issue when elections are round the corner.

The village has the distinction of straddling the proverbial hill-plain fault line.

Uttarakhand has 70 assembly seats and declaring Gairsain as the capital could cost the BJP and Congress as many as 26 seats in the plains of Udhum Singh Nagar, Haridwar and Dehradun.
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