The results of Assembly election in Uttarakhand will serve as a bitter lesson to the hill state's political figures, who have continuously undermined the sentiments and sufferings of locals here. The state came into being in 2000, primarily to meet the needs of people residing in the hilly regions, but the lust of politics and lure of power meant the politics of the hills became just like the politics of the plains.
This is the reason why the state has always voted anti-incumbency, as if the voters have never been satisfied with their elected representatives.
After the 2012 cloudburst hit Kedarnath, when all eyes were on Uttarakhand, at a time when help was pouring in from around the world, billions of people doing their bit to improve the lives of people here. People lost not only their property and means of livelihood but also their near and dear ones had gone missing and were untraceable. Further, connectivity was poor and out of utter helplessness, people were looking for someone who would be concerned about them, someone strong-willed, who would take them out of this never ending cycle of woe.
The landslide victory enjoyed by the BJP is therefore a victory of the party, a sign that the people of the hills have seen in Narendra Modi one such liberator. The party's victory in the 2014 Lok Sabha election was the culmination of the same aspirations, and the hope people of the hills had from PM Modi. Uttarakhand couldn't stay aloof for long, and joined the bandwagon before long.
In the hills of Uttarakhand, there are many villages left vacant due to migration, meaning girls are abandoning their education, women are suffering during child birth, and the authorities aren't paying enough attention to the degredation of their environment. Life in the hills can derail without these essential amenities, and disenchanted voters found a ray of hope in the roaring Modi wave, following the prime minister's assurance that he will improve lives of people in the hills.
Rallies Modi held in Uttarakhand would all start with demonetisation, before he renamed it a cleanliness drive and assured people of his aim of eliminating black money from the country. To appeal to a large population of the state's voters who come from the armed forces, Modi spoke of surgical strikes. To appeal to the state's women, he even spoke of the unwholesome smoke they were inhaling because of pollution. He showed a homely concern, by addressing issues of their safety, even when it came to foraging for firewood in the forests, where they face leopards and bear attacks.
Modi reminded the state's voters about the potency of environment, that can be the panacea of all evils in the eyes of Pahadis. He assured them that he will generate employment, so the youth won't need to leave their aged parents in their deserted old village. "Pahad ka paani aur pahaad ki jawaani, dono pahaad ke kaam aayenge (The hills' water and the hills' youth will both help the region)," he said.
But such a tsunami of votes doesn't come on poll promises alone. Modi went a step beyond, and showed personal concern which swayed votes in his favour. People trusted and stood behind Modi. This is not the victory of a political party, rather the faith of the hills in the words of one man, who is still considered a messiah.
Updated Date: Mar 12, 2017 17:13 PM