Voters aspiring for change: Former Uttarakhand CM Rawat

Former Uttarakhand chief minister Harish Rawat has said there is an aspiration for change among the voters after 10 years of the Narendra Modi government and it will determine the outcome of the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls.

PTI | Dehradun | Updated: 24-02-2024 15:26 IST | Created: 24-02-2024 15:26 IST
Voters aspiring for change: Former Uttarakhand CM Rawat
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Former Uttarakhand chief minister Harish Rawat has said there is an ''aspiration for change'' among the voters after 10 years of the Narendra Modi government and it will determine the outcome of the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls. Reacting to Prime Minister Modi's recent remark expressing confidence about returning to power for the third consecutive term, he said that after 10 years, an ''aspiration for change'' has risen among voters. ''An aspiration for change is there among the voters. The basic issues for the public are inflation, unemployment, the increasing gap between the rich and the poor. Corruption is on the rise, the credibility of the rupee is falling, China's infiltration on the borders is continuing. Terrorism is not under control in Kashmir. There are many such issues on which voters will make up their mind,'' Rawat told PTI Videos in an interview. Modi had recently said that not only the country, but the people of the world are also confident that ''aayega toh Modi hi'' (Only Modi will come to power).

He said slogans like ''Ab ki baar 400 paar'' reflect the nervousness in the BJP ranks more than its confidence. Replying to a question on the Congress' preparations for the upcoming polls, he said, ''A big example of our preparations is Rahul Gandhi's Padayatra in which thousands of people are joining every day. Direct communication is being held with thousands of people. Organisationally, we and our allies are working at our own level. ''As the government is currently in control of the media, our preparations are not getting publicity. We have good preparations on the ground and will give a good fight and help people realise their aspiration for change,'' he said. Recalling the mood of voters during the 2014 general elections, the senior Congress leader said there was a desire for change and Modi emerged as its symbol. ''If I talk as a political analyst, then in the elections of 2014, we saw that after giving a government 10 years, people had a desire for change and Modi ji emerged as its symbol. We are also trying to create a symbol like that this time,'' he said. On the abrogation of Article 370 and the passage of the Uniform Civil Code Bill in the Uttarakhand Assembly, he said these have always been BJP's ''weapons''. Religious polarisation has always been the BJP's weapon but the party did not succeed with it in successive polls before 2014 as there was no desire for change among the voters, he added.

Rawat said the BJP is once again trying to polarise but he expressed confidence that the issues of unemployment, inflation and the ''increasing gap between the rich and the poor'' will take precedence over any other issue in the upcoming polls. He said that the alleged rising crime against women in Uttarakhand will be a major poll issue for the party in the hill state. He cited the example of resort receptionist Ankita Bhandari's murder case and claimed the NCRB's annual report says among the nine Himalayan states, Uttarakhand ranks first in terms of rape and crimes against women and Dalits. Alleged atrocities on women, Dalits, farmers, plight of sugarcane farmers and continuing migration from the hills are big issues, he said. ''The mountains are becoming empty and towns in the plains are turning into slums. The biggest reason for this is migration. Today's government has completely failed to address it. The level of education and healthcare facilities is falling,''he said.

On the alleged lack of unity in the Congress, Rawat said the party has democracy. There are differences which are discussed and ironed out. ''Internal democracy is the strength of the Congress. This is the reason why the party is a contender for power even after 137 years of its existence. Sanatan is also relevant because it is flexible and broad in outlook,'' Rawat said. Harish Rawat also expressed his desire to have his son Virendra Rawat contest elections from the Haridwar Lok Sabha seat which the Congress veteran had won in 2009. Responding to a question on putting forward his son's name from the Haridwar seat, he said there comes a time when one has to say this. ''I am 76 and have been in active politics for 57 years. I wanted to change my direction a little. I should pay more attention to social work rather than politics and write down some of my past experiences and save them for the future. I wanted to take out time for that, but at the same time, the challenge is big this time and I don't want to withdraw from the front,'' he said.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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