No Modi wave: Tamta

Election Tour/Uttarakhand -11

Pradeep Tamta, a close aide of Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat, hopes to win a second term from Almora constituency. Tamta, who was active in the Chipko movement and anti-liquor campaign, spoke to me amid his campaign. Excerpts:

Pradeep-Tamta-20140415-1434-52

This is the second time you are taking on BJP’s Ajay Tamta. What are your chances?

We have the support of the people and we will win comfortably.

Last time, you won with a slender margin and BJP is upbeat this time. How confident are you about the margin?

This time, my margin will increase. There is no doubt about it.

What is your take on your opponent?

Before I won in 2009, BJP was representing the constituency for 19 years. They did nothing to improve the situation in Almora. My BJP opponent was being prepared by the party to fight this election for last five years but he has not been able to contribute to the development of the Assembly constituency he is representing. Whatever progress this constituency has witnessed, it because of the work of Congress.

Do you see a Modi wave? Is it bothering you?

I have not seen any Modi wave in Uttarakhand. People are not attracted to Modi or his ideology. He is making big claims but people are not buying it. Our Chief Minister has been working in the grassroots for several years. Congress has done many things for the welfare of people. If there is a wave in Uttarakhand, it is Harish Rawat wave.

What are the issues you want to focus?

As a hill state, we have our own peculiar problems. We need more central funds for several development activities. Then there is need to further improve infrastructure in education and connectivity. There is a problem in improving agriculture sector. People are finding no future in agriculture. There is a problem of migration. Plans have to be devised to revive agriculture in hill terrain. There will be special focus on this. The road and rail infrastructure also need to be improved so that the tourism industry is benefited. Another priority area is building infrastructure for higher education.

(PS: The interview appeared in Deccan Herald on May 3, 2014)

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