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Election Watch

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



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


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.


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 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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