In Suicide Blaming GST At BJP Office, Uttarakhand Government's First Crisis

Quoting Prakash Pandey, Uttarakhand Minister Subodh Uniyal had said he was unable to repay loans taken from finance companies and had already written to the prime minister, the finance minister and the BJP president seeking waiver of the interest on his loans.

The local transporter, who went to the BJP office in Dehradun after consuming poison, died today

Dehradun: A businessman who reached the BJP office in Uttarakhand after drinking poison two days ago died in a hospital today in state capital Dehradun. The transporter's suicide has reignited criticism of the centre's demonetisation decision and the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax that the transporter blamed for ruining him.

Uttarakhand Agriculture Minister Subodh Uniyal, who was holding a Janata Darbar (public hearing) on Saturday when a teary-eyed Mr Pandey walked in, had initially described the incident as politically motivated.

But the ruling party soon figured the remark could blow up in its face. On Sunday, Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat rushed to the hospital and as news of his death came in on Tuesday, declared that the government was ready to conduct any kind of an inquiry into his death if the family so desires.

A businessman in his mid-forties, Mr Pandey was a resident of Nai Colony in Haldwani, the largest city in the state's Kumaun region.

"The government has landed me in trouble. I am under a lot of debt due to demonetisation and GST," the businessman told farm minister Subodh Uniyal at Saturday's public hearing before he declared that he had consumed poison.

As he was being helped to a vehicle to rush him to hospital, the businessman said he had to consume poison as his attempts to draw the attention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and BJP chief Amit Shah through letters failed. He had also approached Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat's office.

"This chief minister is useless ... He doesn't help people," Mr Pandey said.
Local media reports had also pointed that in his letter to the party, he had spoken about his inability to repay a business loan he had taken and could not even pay his children's school fee.

The Chief Minister said Mr Pandey was on life support, but could not be saved "as he had taken more than the fatal dose of poison".

The Congress' Harish Rawat called the death a "shameful" incident. "Mr Pandey represented scores of people struggling to support their families. It is a matter of shame for the state government that it could not do anything to save the man. He has fallen victim to GST and demonetisation," the former chief minister said.
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