Service before self is in my blood: Kunwar Pranav Singh Champion MLA Khanpur

Ajay Ramola
GG News Bureau
Mussoorie/Dehradun, 16th June. Kunwar Pranav Singh aka “Champion” a senior Member of legislative assembly four times who was elected twice from Laksar and from Khanpur, first as an independent and then on the Congress and BJP ticket, respectively. Known for his outspoken attitude many believe that he has a penchant for controversies which has led him into needless trouble, resulting in negative media publicity.

However, despite all the hurdles, his popularity has grown among his voters that he attributes to the vast experience and the political environment in which he grew since childhood. A descendant of Ram Dayal Singh and “First Freedom Fighter” Vijay Singh he belongs to Landhaura Riyasat, that was formed in the 18th-century. His wife Rani Devyani Singh is a three term Zila Panchayat Member from same Area. Being brought up in such politically vibrant Environment Kunwar Singh says that he is following the path shown by his forefathers. His father Raja Narendra Singh ex MLA, grandfather Maharaj Balwant Singh was MLA in 1935, also Chairman Zila Parishad Saharanpur.
Kunwar Pranav Singh has also served as a cabinet-rank official in the previous state governments under the Chief-Minister ship of N. D. Tiwari, Vijay Bahuguna & Harish Rawat. Speaking to GG news Correspondent he spoke candidly on various issues, here are the excerpts:
The sad demise of leader of opposition Indira Hridayesh has jolted everyone in Uttarakhand. How have you been affected by it?
It is indeed sad that leader of such stature has met with untimely death. I have met her on many occasions and found her to be a seasoned politicians who heard out everyone. My condolences to the family and may God grant peace to such benevolent soul.
What do you think of the Covid crisis in the country?
Well, unfortunately the whole world is under the impact of COVID 19 pandemic and there is no doubt that India is also reeling under its pressure, especially since the start of the second wave. The country under the able leadership of PM Narendra Modi was able to handle the first wave with systematic restrictions but due unprecedented surge in the second wave the situation went out of control. The state governments before the second wave, adamantly sought more role in controlling the pandemic but on seeing the matter go out of hand they sheepishly, asked the Modi government to intervene and take the charge. Modi ji, who is working with only one aim to make India Covid free, readily agreed despite all the problems and since then the situation is gradually coming under control. PM Modi contacted other countries and persuaded them to assist India and the response has been overwhelming with world coming forward in one voice and providing much needed medical oxygen and other equipment as per requirement.

Do you think the new BJP chief minister Tirath Rawat has handled the Covid crisis well?
CM Tirath Rawat has done an excellent job in controlling the Covid pandemic and it can be gauged from the declining positive cases in the state. The situation was ugly when he took charge, but he is working tirelessly for normalising the situation. CM Tirath Rawat taking all the MLAs into confidence has directed them to be with the people and provide them solace in every way possible and work towards vaccinating everyone above 18 years of age.
As an MLA how have you contributed in mitigating the COVID 19 crisis in your constituency?
As per the directions of the CM Tirath Rawat most of the MLA’s are in their constituency catering to the needs of the people. I have been instrumental in opening several inoculation centers and have worked to ensure that we conduct more and more tests in my constituency. Apart from this through my own sources have distributed Covid and Ayush kids besides distribution of medicine, sanitizers, mask, ration kits etc. to the as many people possible and the work is going on continuously. We are also doing widespread Sanitization work from urban to remote rural areas of my Constituency, which is exceptionally large & diverse.

Are you facing any problem in the vaccination drive in your constituency?
Well most of the people are willingly going to designated centres willingly to get vaccinated but as my constituency has large number of semi-literate and rural population the vaccine hesitancy is far more and especially among the Muslim community. We are trying to rope in the Maulvis and the Muslim intelligentsia to convince people as vaccination is the only answer to control the pandemic.
Do you think the opposition has played a positive role in persuading people towards vaccination?
On the contrary, the opposition has worked against the whole drive. The remarks of senior politicians form the opposition creating doubts and false propaganda against vaccination has been a stumbling block. To term it as Modi vaccine was preposterous for which the blame lies solely on the opposition. Despite such hurdles, the state government and the BJP as a party is committed to ensuring that “vaccination for all drive” is conducted smoothly. I would request all the political parties to come under one roof to deal with the crisis in effective manner.
Do you think that the change in the BJP leadership in the government was a good move?
Well, I will not comment on the decision of high command. Former chief minister Trivendra Rawat did a good job during his tenure and now CM Tirath Rawat has taken it up a step further. CM Tirath is a man of few words but as he has risen from grass root level, one can see the sincerity in his work which has resulted in bringing down the Covid positive cases down. The Opposition is trying to create an issue, but the union and state governments are taking all steps to control the pandemic and public is watching all the development closely.

You have been shrouded in controversy with your remarks about Uttarakhand and hilly people. What do you have to say to that?
I am fifty-five years old now and am in politics from past 40 years, to judge me through myopic lenses of three second video is not justified. Most of the controversies are based on the false, baseless, and unfounded assumptions created by people with an intention to malign my image. By vested interest groups including a section of media. However, they have failed in their evil ways, and I have come out stronger due to unflinching support of the people who have elected me repeatedly knowing fulling well that I am the right man for the job and have delivered on the promises I made to them during elections.
What led to your entry in politics and why did you join BJP?
The urge to serve the people runs in my blood. My father became MLA in 1985 and this is my fourth term as MLA. We have been serving people as rulers since 17th century and later as public servants. We are not artificial leaders but social reformers working for the betterment of the public. As for why I Joined BJP well for the simple reason that in BJP every worker has an equal say and can rise to the level of prime minister, while that is not the case with Congress which has turned into a corporate entity governed by one family, therefore you see the exodus from congress in large numbers. The Congress is like a boat without a rudder which is sailing into uncharted destination.
What developmental project that you have accomplished in your constituency, so far?
Well, despite, covid pandemic the development works have continued, and I have been able to complete works worth Rs 25 crores in my constituency. The literacy rate has been a concern in my constituency hence the focus has mainly been on improving the educational infrastructure. Besides working towards opening and upgrading more than 35 primary or higher secondary schools, I have been successful in securing two-degree colleges, one ITI and one polytechnic institute. The embankment of rivers on Ban Ganga river and construction of railway bridge after struggle of eight years. The widening of works through various central government projects worth 57 crores have been other accomplishment.
What role has education played in your political advancement?
I read MBBS books at the age of 14 when my sister was doing her MBBS studies. I have burnt midnight oil to gain knowledge and have been on intellectual pursuits since. I have not remained confined to one single stream but have had eclectic exposure to other subjects too including history, botany, economics etc and this has helped me politically. I also appeared for civil services but did not go due to my mother’s reluctance who wanted me to serve people through political means. As I am well versed with the public welfare issues thus giving me an edge over others to deal with bureaucracy much more effectively. I have excelled in the field of sports and was national heavy weight champion. It
 Will BJP regain power in the state in 2022?
It will be difficult to match the previous performance where the party won 57 seats, but I am confident that BJP will secure safe majority to form the government.
Are you seeking another term as MLA?
Yes, Service before self runs in my blood. My family from both my father’s side as well as in laws side has been in public service since generations. I will contest for another term with the support of the people and wife the three-time Zila panchayat president is also one of the claimants for assembly ticket. Her father Mahendra Singh Bhati was senior politician who was MLA for 3 successive terms from NOIDA Dadri seat of in UP and with such political inheritance, I feel she will be an asset to the party. My request to all the ticket aspirants is that once the seat is finalised which should forget our differences and work for the candidate designated by the party unitedly so that we come in power again.

You have been termed as anti-hilly people, is that true?
Nonsense! my family Riyasat Landhaura always were in close affinity with Royals of Garhwal assisted them during the Gurkha aggression by sending troops to fight. My grandfather Maharaj Balwant Singh MLA in 1935 also the Chairman Zila Parishad Saharanpur got married to Maharani Saraswati Devi daughter of Zamindar thakur Ramdayal Bisht from Lansdowne and her brother Thakur Bhola Singh Bisht was the first to be a Barrister-at-Law from London, hailing from Garhwal. Moreover, Y S Parmar CM & founder of Himanchal Pradesh was also our relative, as wife of Thakur Bhola Singh Bisht, Seeta Devi was sister of Parmar Saheb. In Dhandera-Nagl, Todda-Jalalpur area of my constituency where population of people from hills reside, I have done maximum development in past ten years. The MLA before me, did nothing in 10 years, in those areas. In my career of social service spanning over 40 20 years and 20 years as MLA and I have never supported regionalism alias geo-differentiation, rather helped all communities. Calling me anti-hilly with such credentials is baseless.

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