From the Viewsroom

A tale of two States

Poornima Joshi | Updated on July 05, 2021

Differing visions mark Himachal, Uttarakhand’s trajectories

The unseemly spectacle of a third Chief Minister being sworn within four months in Uttarakhand, a State that is still reeling from the incalculable damage inflicted by the outgoing CM, Tirath Singh Rawat, is only matched by BJP’s open factionalism and absurdities mouthed by the newly-appointed Pushkar Singh Dhami. In circulation are the new CM’s various faux pas on social media and in public forums. This is a State that has 3,40,646 Covid-19 cases and a death ratio of 2.15 per cent, largely owing to the super-spreader event of Kumbh which the new CM’s predecessor, Rawat, allowed saying “faith of devotees will overcome the fear of Covid-19”.

The joke being played on a people who fought so strenuously for a separate hill State is morbid. This is especially given the impressive performance of Uttarakhand’s neighbour, Himachal Pradesh, where the Covid-19 vaccination cover is among the highest in the country with a whopping over 95 per cent of its eligible population having already been vaccinated. Himachal did suffer the impact of the second surge and its death ratio shot up to 1.7 per cent but its overall performance, in terms of health indices, education and governance has remained at par with the top States such as Kerala. Though the “massive gap between two States in the development growth” is attributed to Himachal’s integration in planned policy process much earlier than Uttarakhand, the basic problem in the latter is one of lack of political vision and leadership.

Himachal owes its sound foundation to its visionary founder and first CM, Yashwant Singh Parmar, who promoted a distinct development paradigm, focusing on horticulture growth, marketing and tourism. So sound was this foundation that even today, political stewardship in Himachal never dips to the subterranean levels it has sunk in Uttarakhand.

Published on July 04, 2021

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