Uttarakhand CM hits back at BJP over Nanda Devi Raj Yatra

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat on Sunday rubbished as "baseless and illogical" BJP's criticism of arrangements for Nanda Devi Raj Yatra, saying such remarks will only tarnish the state's image as a "safe" destination.

Dehradun: Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat on Sunday rubbished as "baseless and illogical" BJP's criticism of arrangements for Nanda Devi Raj Yatra, saying such remarks will only tarnish the state's image as a "safe" destination.

Rawat said criticism by BJP MP Ajay Tamta and other party leaders of the arrangements is "indirectly harming" the image of the state as a safe destination. Leaders should not indulge in politics when it comes to the state's image, especially with such baseless and illogical statements, he said.

"BJP MP Tamta and other party leaders are not able to understand that their statements are indirectly tarnishing the image of Uttarakhand and people involved with tourism here," he said.

Rawat said over 50,000 pilgrims participated in the yatra this year, whereas in 2000 only 2,000-3,000 people took part.

Former Uttarakhand Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank had said arrangements for Nanda Devi Raj Jat Yatra were "poor" and accused the government of wasting money in the name of improving facilities for pilgrims.

Rawat said with the success of the Yatra, which concluded yesterday, the state has once again emerged as a safe haven for tourists after last year's natural calamity.