The Uttarakhand government on Tuesday decided to scrap the Chardham Devasthanam Board even as the opposition Congress termed it as a victory of the priests and “defeat” of BJP’s arrogance.
The Chardham priests have hailed the decision and thanked Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami.
“After studying all aspects of the issue, we have decided to withdraw the Chardham Devasthanam Board Act,” the chief minister said.
Chardham priests had been demanding scrapping of the board ever since its creation in 2019, saying it was an infringement of their traditional rights over the temples.
A high-level committee constituted by Mr Dhami to look into the Devasthanam Board issue had submitted its recommendations to the chief minister in Rishikesh on Sunday.
“We went through the details of the report submitted by the panel headed by Manohar Kant Dhyani. After considering all aspects of the issue our government has decided to withdraw the Act,” Mr Dhami said.
Constituted during the tenure of former chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat, the Chardham Devasthanam Board managed the affairs of 51 temples across the state, including the famous Himalayan temples of Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri.
The priests welcomed the decision but asserted that it was a result of the sustained pressure they had mounted on the government.
“It is a historic decision. A unique incident of Indian democracy where a government had to withdraw its own decision under public pressure,” Chardham Teerth Purohit Hak Hakookdhari Mahapanchayat spokesman Brajesh Sati said.
He also thanked the chief minister for the decision.
Congress’s campaign head for Uttarakhand and former Uttarakhand chief minister Harish Rawat described it as a victory of the priests.
“As in the case of the three agri laws, arrogance has once again been defeated. The BJP has taken the decision sensing its imminent defeat in the coming polls. It is a victory of the priests who refused to budge. I congratulate them,” the AICC general secretary said.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)