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Election Watch

Himachal ready for assembly polls with record 995 nominations



The nomination round is complete and we have a total of 995 nominations from 660-odd candidate as some of the candidates filed more than one set of nomination for the 68-member House election to be held on November 04-2012. However, the valid number of total nomination papers filed is 509. Usual pomp and show followed the candidates to the nomination centers and 254 candidates filed their papers on the last day. This number sets a record of nominations filed for the Himachal assembly election. Inner party conflicts, mainly arising from denial of the ticket to some experienced and prominent personalities in their respective constituencies from both, Congress and BJP, played some role raising the number of nominations. Other than this, Him Lokhit Morcha, involvement of TMC, NCP etc. has given the rebels more options. Himachal has a total of 45,15,604 eligible voters, which includes 23,14,235 males and 22,01,369 females, who would decide the fate of the candidates on the polling day – 4 November.

Multi Millionaire candidates

As per the declaration of the personal property made by candidates, Himachal has 22 candidates in multimillionaire list, which includes 6 from Congress, 2 independents, and 13 from BJP. With moveable and immovable assets, Virbhadra Singh reached almost 70 crore, while Bihari Lal Butail, a well known Congress leader from district Kangra posses assets of near about 150 crore. Of course, the wealth matters when it comes to promotional campaigns. As compared to the previous assembly elections in 2007, the assets of various political personalities have doubled in five years. Sadly, for the public, only costs of the commodities and petroleum has seen growth. However, Media Certification and Monitoring Committee have assured that the election expenditure by the candidates and the parties will be under strict monitoring. The Election Commission also claims to have included police observers to look after the flying squad and static surveillance teams.


Election Commission Directs Parties to refrain using relgious venues for their campaigns

Indian Election Commission has directed the political parties to refrain from using the festival venues as a stage for their electoral campaigns like Jagarans during the Navaratras, Dushera or any other religious gathering. Any attempt to use these religious venues as a platform for party campaign such as participation in inaugural ceremonies and distribution of promotional materials in any form will be considered as a violation of the directions under the provisions of Religious Institutions (Prevention and Misuse) Act, 1988. That doesn’t put a ban on participation in the celebration. But still, it’s quite disappointing, especially, when you are missing a gathering like we see at Kullu-Dushera.

Blame Game Gains Hike

Interestingly, this time the blame game has become the favorite weapon of political parties to gain attention and the sympathy of the public. It’s not that the allegations, which these two parties are putting over each other are false or just the attempts to deceive the public, but it has been surely confusing the public. Where Congress leader Virbhadra Singh calls the BJP government lead by Prem Kumar Dhumal as the most corrupt government ever, the BJP is using the CD case and the compromise with Vijay Singh Mankotia as a counter attack and to highlight the corrupt nature of the congress leader. Well, BJP seems to have an upper hand in the blame game as the act of giving party ticket from Shahpur to Vijay Singh Mankotia, who had accused Virbhadra in the CD case and was expelled from the party, sounds apparently odd to everyone. How come a long rivalry turned into a friendship in a day? From BJP camp, one more card, being used to attack Virbhadra lead government, is regarding a and deal with DLF in 2007, when Congress was in the power.

The impact of the mud slinging on two main political parties of the nation in the center can also be seen in Himachal. Arvind Keijariwal is one guy who is creating a big headache for both parties and has already done a good deal of damage to their public image. He even made Salman Khurshid lose his temper and publically challenge Kejariwal to dare lead a protest against him in Farrukhabad.

Keijariwal is targeting individual personalities of various parties instead of a particular political organization and that’s what make him a fatal threat for all of the politicians. However, the allegation on Anjali Damania, an IAC member, has relieved BJP a bit. She was alleged to have bought a part of land as an agricultural land and then selling it for a huge profit after it was declared non-agricultural after five years. On the other hand, unlawful DLF property deals by Robert Vadra are also posing questions whether being the son-in-law of the Chief of the Congress, Sonia Gandhi, is fetching him favors from government machinery. BJP is falling short of words as an explanation in the case of irrigation scam that involves Nitin Gadkari. The real estate and property dealing involves a great number of political personalities and in most of the cases, the agricultural land is converted into commercial land and farmers suffers the most. We have an example of the same in Shimla, where forest land was sold to DLF for the construction of Samtara Luxury Villa and hundreds of trees were taken down. Both, Congress and BJP, are unable to clarify their sides and most of the time a statement that we hear from the ministers of these parties is “ Ye Arope Party Ki Chavi Kharab Karne Ke Liye Lagaye Gaye Hain”.

Even the Facebook and other social networking websites are full of promotional and anti-party content. The cartoons, photoshopped images of ministers and MLAs, slogans etc. could bee seen on Facebook, Orkut and Twitter. CPI(M) is the most active party in using the services of Internet as a medium for approaching the voters. Well, that’s obvious – marxists are known for their trust on scientific theories and they seems to have implementing them well.

Security Arrangements

Election Commission is to deploy five companies of CAPF to ensure peaceful polling for the state legislative assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh. A close eye would be kept on the people travelling from Haryana and Uttarakhand to Himachal and for this purpose, 13 checkposts have already been set up in Himachal, 7 in Haryana and 3 in Uttarakhand. It will ensure a check on the entry of miscreants and criminals into the State. However, the real criminals and miscreants sit among the elite class in our state, so the Election Commission should worry more about that.


Rise of the Rebels

The disappointed members of Congress and BJP, including previous ministers and MLAs, who were denied tickets are rising as rebels. These candidates are either fighting the election as Independent candidates or from other parties.Himachal Lokhit Party seems to have attracted many former BJP MLAs and ministers. The list of these rebels includes Shyama Sharma, Maheshwar Singh (former MP), Dulo Ram, Khushi Ram Balnahta, Naveen Dhiman and Babu Ram Mandyal. The Congress minister Singhi Ram, Prem Lata Thakur, Tilak Raj Sharma, Harbhajan Bhajji has filed nominations as independent candidates.

Other than these, Mohinder Singh (Dharampur), Bragta (Jubbal-Kotkhai), Khimi (Kullu), Satti (Una) and Thakur (Drang), and former Parliamentary secretary Chet Ram (Kinnaur ST seat) are among the major rebels, who could snatch a good number of votes from two giants.


Nirankari Congregation and busy apple harvest time create worries for BJP and Congress

Candidates from both parties are to miss approximately 30,000-40,000 voters due to the movement of the followers of Sant Nirankari Mission to Delhi just two days before the polling date. Himachal has around one lakh followers of the Sant Nirankari Mission and in front of the international congregation of Nirankaris in Delhi to be held from 3 – 5 November, the voting is not the priority. Even in Kinnaur, the people are busy in harvesting this season’s apple crop and for that reason they might miss the polling. Even the candidates visiting the areas as a part of their campaign are admitting their inability to reach the maximum number of the voters due to the same reason.

In nutshell, it’s a complete mess up this time and neutral voters would find it confusing amidst the revelation of scams and allegations from BJP and Congress. The government employees might not find it that difficult to decide, but for the common man, unemployed educated youth and farmers, it would be quite puzzling as it’s becoming hard to find any difference between the nature and the intentions of the major political parties.However, in the coming days, before the polling date, the candidates and the parties would put their best effort to impress the public and defame each other in order to gain the public sympathy.

Madan has studied English Literature and Journalism from HP University and lives in Shimla. He is an amateur photographer and has been writing on topics ranging from environmental, socio-economic, development programs, education, eco-tourism, eco-friendly lifestyle and to green technologies for over 9 years now. He has an inclination for all things green, wonderful and loves to live in solitude. When not writing, he can be seen wandering, trying to capture the world around him in his DSLR lens.

Election Watch

In Himachal, Over 50 Lakh Voters to Cast Vote in 7730 Polling Stations on May 19



Polling in Himachal Pradesh

Shimla– Over fifty lakh voters are set to vote in 7730 polling stations in four parliamentary constituencies of Himachal Pradesh in the last phase of the ongoing Lok Sabha election on May 19.

Talking about the poll preparations, Additional Chief Electoral Officer DK Rattan said, “53,30,154 voters will vote in 7730 polling stations on May 19. 373 polling stations are critical, 47 companies of central paramilitary forces have been deployed there.

It’s being ensured that voting takes place peacefully at all polling stations. Rattan said that polling agents have either reached their respective polling stations or are on their way

“Polling party for the remote, tribal polling station at Bara Bhangal in Kangra district was sent on May 15. In Shimla’s Dodra Kawar, teams and material were sent for seven polling stations on May 16,”

he said

“In Lahaul Spiti district, the polling station has been set at an altitude of 15,256 feet at Tashigang. This is the world’s highest polling station,”

he added. (ANI)

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Election Watch

Himachal BJP Chief Satti Barred from Campaigning by EC for MCC Violation



Satpal Singh Satti Barred from Campaigning 1

Shimla-The Election Commission of India has barred Himachal Pradesh BJP chief Satpal Singh Satti from campaigning for 48 hours. This prohibition would begin from 10 am tomorrow onwards for two days for violating the Model Code of Conduct.

This makes him the first such leader from Himachal Pradesh who was barred from campaigning for violating MCC.

Satti had used an obscene slur for Congress chief Rahul Gandhi while addressing a public meeting in Shimla constituency’s Ramshahar in Nalagarh sub-division on April 14, 2019.  The EC had taken strict note of it and had issued a notice. Satti had filed a reply justifying himself that he was merely narrating a Facebook comment made by some other person. He also alleged media of presenting edited video clip with manipulations. However, this justification failed to appeal to the EC as the word used by Satti was highly derogatory.  

Also, it was alleged that Satti had made objectionable remarks over religious sect Radha Swami, for which he had also apologized.

Here is what Satti Had Said About Rahul Gandhi:

A couple of video clips were shared on social media after someone recorded his address on mobile cameras. 

However, Satti is yet to receive a response to the reply he has filed to a second notice served to him by EC for again making objectionable comments about Priyanka Vadra dressing and Rahul Gandhi’s bachelorhood in public meeting in Una.  The second notice was sent on the basis of video footage recorded by EC’s video surveillance team.

Himachal Pradesh Congress had launched a statewide protest against Satti along with submission of a complaint to the EC. An FIR was also lodged against Satti in relation to his derogatory comments.  Effigies were burnt at various places. Youth wing of the State Congress had smeared black paint on the face of Satti in BJP posters in Shimla. Former Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh had gone to the extent of saying that Satti had lost his mental balance.

State BJP leaders have so far avoided condemning Satti’s remarks, which also drew criticism from the opposition.

BJP leaders like Shanta Kumar, however, defended Satti. Shanta said Satti had apologized for his remarks. However, Satti had only apologized to Radha Swami organization. He had refused to apologize to Rahul Gandhi. He maintained that Rahul had also been addressing PM Modi as Chowkidar Chor or Chore while addressing rallies and public meetings.

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Election Watch

Black Paint Smeared on HP BJP Chief’s Face in Posters, Congress Also Files Police Complaint



Black Paint Smeared on Satpal Satti's Posters in Shimla

Shimla-Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee (HPCC) has filed a complaint to police for lodging an FIR against Satpal Singh Satti, President of BJP HP, for making derogatory remarks and statements against INC President Rahul Gandhi. Congress said this news was also published by various newspapers on Monday.

HPCC has already made a call for state-wide protest against Satti on April 16.

At the same time, the obscene remarks have angered the State Youth Congress. Workers of Youth Congress were smearing black paint on Satti’s face on BJP poster in Shimla as a protest. Workers can also be seen in the video writing ‘Besharm Satti’ (Shameless) on BJP posters.

The State President of Youth Congress, Manish Thakur, has made a call do the same with BJP chief’s face on posters across the State. All workers across Himachal should boycott and burn effigies of Satti in their respective constituencies, he said.

In its complaint, HPCC said that on April 14, 2019, Satpal Singh Satti was addressing a public meeting organised at Ramshaher of  Nalagarh Vidhan Sabha Assembly in District Solan. During his address, he allegedly passed derogatory remarks against Rahul Gandhiji and former UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi. These remarks were highly defamatory and against women’s dignity, Congress said in its complaint. It also alleged that the objectionable remarks used by Satti are also in gross violation of the guidelines laid down by Election Commission of India.

The unparliamentary language used by Satti while delivering the speech in this meeting tarnishes the image of AICC President Rahul Gandhi, the complaint said.

 The abusive remarks used against Sonia Gandhi are damaging the public image of a woman, who is given the utmost importance in the Social Indian setup, it said.

These remarks would tarnish the image of Congress Party in India as well as in Himachal, the complaint said.  Congress also complained that Satti has committed a criminal offence by passing derogatory remarks and has also violated the guidelines issued by Election Commission of India for smooth conduction of elections.  Some cuttings from today’s Dallies were also attached with the complaint.

Satti, as per a PTI report, refused to apologize for the remarks, and said he was merely reading contents of a comment posted by someone on social media.  Instead, he said Rahul Gandhi and Congress leaders should apologise for using ‘chor’ word for PM.

I have narrated an incident while addressing a public meeting in Nalagarh tehsil of Solan district whereby a derogatory remark was made against Rahul in retaliation of using ‘chor’ word for PM in a viral social media message,

he told PTI.

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