Only one who devotes himself to a cause with his whole strength and soul can be a true master. For this reason mastery demands all of a person. - Albert Einstein
Satpal Maharaj’s commitment and contribution is more than visible in every endeavour of his towards the development of Uttarakhand and about this none can refute. Come what may, his steadfast resolve to deliver his best is visible in everything undertook, leaving no stone unturned. His mission is rather tall - to make Devbhoomi a Paradise in the Indian sub-continent.
He was aware that the task before him in the political arena would be an uphill one, particularly if he needs to do it in the clean way. To serve the interest of common man meant adhering to values while revamping the political scenario in the state; he knew his task of making Uttarakhand into a formidable industrial and economic power, would be met with immense resistance both from within the political system and outside. Firstly, his biggest challenge would be about changing rules of the game – transforming politics of greed, caste divide and nepotism with ‘value based politics.’
As a son of the soil, he always believed that we people of this sacred Devbhoomi owe it to our children to leave behind us a homeland that offers economic and social security. As truly responsible citizens, one cannot possibly leave behind a legacy of gloom, inadequate opportunities and insecurities resulting from man-made disasters. To turnaround this, warrants a focused action plan; and this is plausible when we look forward for better governance. History bears testimony to establish that in any democracy, the voter has the power to revolutionise the leadership material.
During his youth, Satpal Maharaj’s interactions and travel into the remote villages strongly influenced him in carving out the above mission. He was moved by the social ills and the plight of the common man and particularly of those belonging to the underprivileged section. This led him to stress upon the role of voter power to usher in progress. He knew, this can happen if the masses exercise their right to franchise prudently. Leadership tainted with selfish or personal gains, risk running an axiomatically flawed democracy.
The tone for setting the change the scenario in this Himalayan region began with the Bharat Jago Padayatra in 1983. He knew that awareness amongst masses is most crucial in any democratic set-up to usher in change. He was deeply moved by the hapless state of people in his homeland (now Uttarakhand). He undertook this Padayatra primarily to interact with masses to promote social awareness and foster bonds that nurture the highest expression of the spirit in serving the underprivileged and humanity. The noble mission of serving the common man found a new expression to affirm the moral responsibility and keep it at the fore of societal consciousness. He raised the issue on the need for cleaning up Ganga, which led to the Ganga Action plan initiative by the Government of India in 1986.
He resolved to undertake the responsibility of making their voices heard in the corridors of political power. The political scenario in this Himalayan region warranted restructuring the administrative framework as the economic and human development under the Uttar Pradesh state Government was not getting due attention. The issues related to this Himalayan region were put on the back-burner by the U P Government. This led him to actively participate in the Uttarakhand Movement. With this began a new phase of commitment to be a part of the solution and usher in change for development. Unfortunately, this movement took an ugly turn due to atrocities inflicted by the U P police at Rampur Tiraha in Muzzafarnagar in UP.
During the regime of Prime Minister Shri HD Devegowda, Satpal Maharaj as Minister of State for Railways got the opportunity in August 1996 to convince the Prime Minister that Uttarakhand needs to be given the status of independent hill state rather than announcing piece-meal measures like hill council. On August 15, 1996 at the Red Fort in PM’s address to the nation on India’s Independence Day Celebrations, Shri HD Devegowda announced granting statehood status to Uttarakhand. Satpal Maharaj was aware that now it was important to take the mantle forward.
As soon as Satpal Maharaj took over as Minister of State for Railways, he initiated the process of getting the survey completed for the railway line from Rishikesh to Karnaprayag. As Minister of State for Finance with the Central Government, he was instrumental in making several reforms and by declaring Uttarakhand as industrially backward and the Government of India cleared the proposal to declare Tax Holiday for Industry in Uttarakhand.
During Shri ND Tiwari’s regime from 2002 to 2007 as Chief Minister, Satpal Maharaj was appointed as Vice-Chairman - 20 Point Implementation Programme. His efforts paid dividends when Uttarakhand secured First position consecutively for three years as declared by the Planning Commission of India.
In 2009, the people of Uttarakhand elected him as Member of Parliament to the 15th Lok Sabha. His commitment to progress of Uttarakhand has been documented in his book – 100 Days in Parliament. In 2009, Satpal Maharaj was appointed Chairman, Standing Committee of Defence, as Member of Public Accounts Committee, as Member of the Consultative Committee for the Ministry of Railways and as Member of the General Purposes Committee; As Chairman, Standing Committee of Defence, his efforts resulted in creating a record on the number of personnel recruited by the armed forces.
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