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In Uttaranchal politicians use donkeys to settle scores
Deepti Saxena in Dehra Dun | December 13, 2005 10:21 IST
Uttaranchal's ruling Congress and opposition Bharatiya Janata Party parade bulls and donkeys on the streets in a fight over distribution of ministerial-level posts.
Ministerial-level posts come with a government vehicle fitted with red beacon, locally known as lal batti, among other facilities.
The BJP paraded red beacon-capped donkeys on the streets apparently to mock at ministerial-level posts being given to Congress leaders.
Some BJP leaders in Udham Singh Nagar area took out processions of donkeys and bulls with their heads covered with red-beacons to protest distribution of ministerial-level posts.
Chief Minister N D Tiwari had distributed 260 ministerial-level posts in the state, inviting the wrath BJP as well as other social groups.
"Uttaranchal is facing financial crunch as the special status and grants from the Centre have already been withdrawn. The state government's debt has reached Rs 9000 crore and the chief minister is still distributing lal battis to Congress workers, putting a huge burden on the state exchequer," said state BJP general secretary and former finance minister Ramesh Pokhariyal Nishank.
Responding to BJP's sarcasm, some Congress leaders led by its general secretaries Dhirendra Pratap and Vijay Saraswat took out a bullock-cart procession in Haridwar while wearing red beacons on their heads.
They also garlanded donkeys and bulls and said the BJP should apologise for parading these animals since they are supposed to be the vehicles of deities Sheetala Mata and Dharmraj Yamraj respectively.
But it is not only BJP that is opposing distribution of lal battis. Early this week, some Congress leaders belonging to "Rahul Priyanka Youth Brigade" also took out a similar procession here criticising Tiwari for not stopping the distribution of lal battis.
"Our party president Sonia Gandhi has clearly instructed Tiwari not to distribute ministerial-level posts any more and concentrate on implementation of people's friendly policies and development. But Tiwari continues to distribute more such posts," said a leader of the Brigade.