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Congress and CPI(M) release party manifestos for Himachal assembly elections

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Congress Party manifesto lures the youth, while CPI(M) emphasizes on the need of the third alternative to the people

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After the nomination round, the next round starts with the declaration of the election manifestos. The party manifestos are one of the most effective ways to lure the voters for any party. Although, a party manifesto is intended to communicate to the voters regarding the principles and plans for the development of the nation or a state, but in India, it’s mostly like a trap to get the votes of a public that reacts to it no better than a herd of sheep. The party manifesto of the Congress was released by the Chairman of the manifesto committee and Union Commerce Minister Anand Sharma in the presence of Virbhadra Singh, Sheila Dikshit, Birender Chaudhary, State leaders Vidya Stokes, and Kaul Singh Thakur. All the senior leaders promised to deliver whatever has been announced in the party manifesto. All the leaders tried to appear united, having no internal differences at all, but for those who observe well, it wasn’t that convincing.

The State Committee of the CPI(M) also released their party manifesto in a joint conference attended by Dr Onkar Shad, Dr Kuldeep Tanwar and Tikender Panwar. The Left front, joined by CPM, CPI and the Himachal Lokhit Party, is fighting elections at all 68 seats.The manifesto, as expected, suggested a war against the neoliberal policies that are being adopted by both, the Congress and BJP. The party has already been advocating the fact that both the main parties have ruled alternately, but couldn’t’t do much about the financial status of the common man and that of the state. Let’s see what Congress and CPI(M) have got to sell in Himachal to receive the support of the voters.

Highlights of the party manifestos released by the Congress and CPI(M)
On Unemployment

The opposition promised an unemployment allowance of 1,000 to all 10+2 pass and graduates with a total family income less than Rs.200,000 per year. In case of Handicapped graduates, who are jobless, Ra. 15,000 per month will be paid as an unemployment allowance. 1000,000 job opportunities will be created annually by boosting skill and vocational enhancement and a 500 crore skill development corporation will be established for the same.

On the other hand, CPI(M) offered to provide Rs. 300 as a wage per day for the workers , 70% reservation for the people of Himachal in all jobs created in the state, and a monthly allowance of Rs.1,000 to the unemployed with an emphasis on the self-employment.

For Students and Education

Congress declared that 10,000 toppers in the board examinations will be given free laptops under Rajiv Gandhi Digital Student Yojana, a special learning laptop to every topper in class 8 in every school and a promised education loan at the rate of 4% to promote higher education. The students will get free travel passes too.

CPI(M) raised the issue of unchecked growth of the private education institutes and universities in the state and hence, suggested implementation of the recommendations of the regulatory authority.

On Industrial Policy, Tourism, Per Capita Income, and Economic Reforms

The Congress ensured the formulation of a new Industrial policy for better investment. To develop tourism and attract more tourists from all over the world, an airport, matching the international standards, will be set near Shimla. Further, the government would implement FDI as it has been supporting it for the better economical development of the state.Growth of per capita income will be ensured.

CPI(M), however, raised suggestion regarding the demand of special status to the Himachal considering its poor financial and tough geographic conditions. The party considered the demand of a 10 percent royalty on per unit electricity produced in Himachal. The manifesto also suggested to put a levy on cement including other industries and the industrial package. Opposed to the implementation of FDI in retail by Congress, CPI(M) declared that it will fight against it in Himachal.

Farmers, Fruit and Apple Growers

Creation of the infrastructure in integrated cold chains, grading and packaging, and agro and food processing by tempting more private investors. The custom duty will be increased to 3 times the present to promote local apples over imported ones. If possible, apple would be put into a special category. Further, efforts will be made to promote the food processing industry. Congress also promised special schemes for the marginal farmers in order to provide them a subsidy on seeds for cultivation.

CPI(M) suggested to put more efforts to save the produce of the farmers by giving 90% subsidy on anti hail nets. Furthermore subsidies for farmers to promote organic farming was one of the main concerns of the party manifesto.

A Corruption Free Government and Better Governance

Both parties, Congress and CPI(M) promised that they would establish a transparent and corruption free government in the state, if came into power. Congress ensured that no tolerance will be shown towards any act of corruption. The first step would be to investigate all the scams of the present Dhumal lead BJP government. To ensure better governance, the Congress would set up an administration commission intended to re-organize the boundaries of all districts, tehsils, and sub-divisions. CPI(M) pointed towards the recent cases of violation of the land acquisition laws provided under Sections 118 of the Indian Constitution by the present government and demanded proper legal action.

Environment and Health

The party manifesto of the Congress did not mention much about the protection of the environment and health care services, while CPI(M) asked for an extra 1000 crore annual grant to save the forests in the hill state. CPI(M) also suggested a ban on the outsourcing of the medical facilities along with providing more staff to the remote tribal areas.

Infrastructure

The manifestos from the both parties included offers to provide better infrastructure in the state. CPI(M) blamed the present condition of the roads in Himachal for a negative impact on the tourism industry and promised to recover the state roads from damage. As mentioned before, the Congress has promised an Airport near Shimla that will meet the International standards.

Well, anyone would easily observe that the Congress is tempting the youth, which makes almost 50% of the electors. However, the manifesto could not provide any concrete details and plans for the generation of permanent employment. There was no word about increasing the limit of subsidized LPG cylinders and prices of petroleum. This time, it sounds like government employees do not need much convincing from Congress.

The promise of a corruption free government with a transparent working sounds humorous, especially considering the scams and allegations that flooded the news channels for the last couple of weeks. Even otherwise, it would be nothing more than pulling the leg of BJP by putting only their scams under investigation. Moreover, Congress is not in a position to raise the anti-corruption slogan as Virbhadra Singh is already facing a case in the local court and even from the center, hardly any leader could claim his slate to be a clean one. The corruption prevails among most of the political parties and if you regularly watch the news or read the newspaper, then you can understand that the promise to get rid of the corruption is just a temporary illusion. Moreover, the environmental protection and check on the sale of agricultural and forest land to private universities, religious and charitable institutions, and real estate companies, are two highly sensitive issues which were missing from the manifesto released by the Congress.

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 7 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 world around him in his DSLR lens.

Election Watch

HP CEO asks DCs to ensure cashless transactions during electoral process, issues helpline number

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Code of conduct in Himachal Pradesh

HP Election Department issued a toll-free number 0177-2620551 (Shimla) to attend to queries of the people and provide them with information related to elections in the state and various issues related election.

Shimla: The Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), Himachal Pradesh, Pushpendra Rajput, has asked the Deputy Commissioners -cum-District Election Officers of their respective districts to carry out completely cashless transactions after the model code of conduct comes into force.

The measure would help to maintain the transparency in transactions during the electoral process.

The HP Election Department has also issued a toll-free number 0177-2620551 (Shimla) to attend to queries of the people and provide them with information related to elections in the state and various issues related election.

A person can obtain information linked to electoral rolls by pressing 1, pressing 2 for photo identity card, 3 for polling stations, and 4 for info on the EVM or VVPAT. By pressing 5, any person can get answers to their queries related to code of conduct. Any sort of miscellaneous information other than above-mentioned topics can be obtained by pressing 9.

Further, the DCs have been told to complete RONET and booth level planning at the earliest.

The CEO directed the DCs to review preparedness of election machinery, complete the training programme for officers and officials and construct ramps at polling stations to facilitate the specially-abled persons.

All polling stations should be provided with a telephone network, electricity, water, and other basic amenities, directed the CEO.

He asked the DEOs to speed up decisions on final disposal of Form No.6, 7 and 8 received during a special campaign in the state and ensure distribution of photo identity cards to all the electors.

Apart from the SVEEP activities at schools, Mahila Mandals, Yuva Mandals, Panchayati Raj institutions, Anganwari workers, the department claimed that the awareness regarding EVM and VVPAT is being provided to the maximum number of people in their districts to ensure maximum involvement of electors.

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Election Watch

Shimla Ice Skating Club elections on October, 27, 2013

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SHIMLA: Ice Skating Club is among one of the best known places in Shimla. This coming Sunday there is going to be elections. It is allegedly said by Peter Ta Tung one of the lifetime member of Shimla Ice Skating Club that the Annual General Meeting of Skating club is a mockery and an eye wash.

AS per the societies registration act, a minimum of 23 to 46 days notice has to be given before the annual general meeting of any club registered under this act. Infact as per the lce Skating club constitution a minimum of 10 days notice has to be served in the same regard as per (Clause XXXII (b)).

However the fact is that this year the AGM is notified on Oct 22, 2013 with date of Filling nomination on Oct 24, 2013 and taking back of nomination on Oct 25, 2013. The election date has been announced on Oct 27, 2013 along with Annual General Meeting, which makes it a period of 6 days which is not sufficient for conducting healthy and fair elections.
What has been going on in the club definitely needs some serious just scan so that the proud legacy of Himachal does not come to a dreadful end.

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Election Watch

The big day passes peacefully, HP witnesses record turnout

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Today, the state of Himachal Pradesh is done with the polling for the elections for the state legislative assembly. The public of Himachal surpassed the previous records of total polling percentage and at the end of the day; it turned out to be 75%. That’s a distinction. It was 71.2% in 2007 assembly elections. Surprisingly, district wise, the percentage was high in the hilly areas and moderate in lower parts of the state. The polling day witnessed no trouble and the was spent peacefully, if you ignore the dogfight between the members of two parties that took place at a polling booth in Chamba. The security arrangements for the big day were rather very strict. The Election Commission came out with a very tough face. The guards with guns could be seen standing alert as if they were on LOC. The flying squad vehicles could be seen roaming all over. The closed shops and bazaars added to the seriousness of the day. After all, this day would decide the fate of the public and the candidates.

Two major political camps have started to claim the polling to be in thee favor of their specific sides and these claims or say rumors are likely to continue until the day results are declared. This time the suspense would entertain the public until 20 December. Get more details regarding the polling for the HP assembly elections Get more details regarding the polling for the HP assembly elections.

HW talked to a couple of party members at the end of the day.

HW visited various polling booths in Shimla district and captured a few images, which might depict the big day for you.

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Photos: Madan

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