Dehradun, Nov 19: Chief Minister Harish Rawat today said Uttarakhand should have been given representation in the Union Cabinet but expressed confidence that Narendra Modi government will continue UPA's "policy of sympathy" towards Himalayan states especially Uttarakhand which was ravaged by unprecedented floods last year.
"Though it is the sole prerogative of the Prime Minister to chose members of his Cabinet, I do feel it would have been better if the state was given a cabinet berth," Rawat told PTI in an interview. However, the Chief Minister said he was confident that non-representation of Uttarakhand in the Union Cabinet would not come in the way of Centre offering "whole-hearted and generous" support to the endeavours of the state government in dealing with the aftermath of the tragedy.
"I hope Modi government will continue the policy of sympathy adopted by Mr Manmohan Singh towards Himalayan states, especially towards Uttarakhand which suffered massive devastation in last year's deluge," he said. Rawat also said he was optimistic that the five BJP MPs from the state will strongly raise state-specific issues in Parliament and ensure that Uttarakhand gets its due. BJP had won all five seats in Lok Sabha polls in the state. Asked whether the Centre's silence on his demand for an additional package of Rs 4000 crore for reconstruction and rehabilitation work in affected areas reflected its indifference to the hill state, Rawat said it would be too early to jump to that "bitter conclusion".
"It would not be fair to say that Modi government is not paying attention to Uttarakhand. I am aware how official procedures often involving several ministries delay things at the Centre. "But I am extremely hopeful that all the demands placed by me before the Prime Minister will get his due attention without much delay," the Chief Minister said. Besides an additional package of Rs 4000 crore from the Centre, the chief minister has also demanded a green bonus of Rs 2000 crore for the state in return for measures taken for environmental conservation, sometimes at the cost of development.