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Uttarakhand Minister Madan Kaushik Backtracks on Debate Over Development with Manish Sisodia

File photo of Uttarakhand Cabinet Minister Madan Kaushik.

File photo of Uttarakhand Cabinet Minister Madan Kaushik.

Political rivalry between AAP and the Trivendra Singh Rawat-led government gained momentum last month after the Delhi deputy chief minister toured Uttarakhand and interacted with voters and AAP cadre.

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Anupam Trivedi

Days after Aam Aadmi Party leader and Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia challenged Uttarakhand cabinet minister Madan Kaushik for an open debate on development works in the hill state, the BJP minister slammed the Delhi government and indicated that he might not attend the debate.

“Deputy Chief Minister in a letter invited me for debate on Jan 4, 2020. How am I supposed to present for debate on a backdate? This shows how casual the Aam Adami Party is” Kaushik said here on Sunday. He also termed Sisodia as a ‘tourist’ and accused him of not being serious about issues.

Sisodia responded to the statement and said he is coming to Dehradun on Monday and would be available for debate.

“I am sure Madan Kaushikji will not backtrack from his earlier stand (to attend debate). I am seeking a reply on only five works of the BJP government in hill state” Sisodia said.

Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP is hopeful of making inroads in Uttarakhand which has 70 assembly seats like Delhi. Party leaders assert AAP enjoys support from people belonging to the hills who reside in Delhi. It is believed the Delhi-Uttarakhand connection will help AAP take over mainstream parties such as BJP and Congress.

Since Uttarakhand's inception in 2000, the state has witnessed political fights between the two national parties. In the last three assembly elections, voters gave a chance to both BJP and Congress alternatively. However, with assembly elections due in a year, AAP is trying to make space for itself.

Political rivalry between AAP and the Trivendra Singh Rawat-led government gained momentum last month after the Delhi deputy chief minister toured Uttarakhand and interacted with voters and AAP cadre. Sisodia had challenged the

state government to list at least “five development works done by it in its three and a half years of tenure.” In a tweet, the AAP leader had offered to hold discussions on health, education, power, water, and unemployment at Dehradun’s IRDT auditorium and invited Kaushik for a debate in Delhi on January 6.

Minister Kaushik countered Sisodia’s challenge and said, “not one, two or hundred, BJP government has done more than 200 works”. He also accepted the challenge had said he would visit Delhi to hold a debate over the works carried by the Kejriwal government. "I am preparing all the list of development works done by our government which I will show him during an open debate in Delhi. He need not come here as I will go to Delhi,” Kaushik was quoted as saying.


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