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Election Watch

Political drama getting high in poll-bound Himachal

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Yesterday, the PM shuffled the cabinet a bit and introduced 7 new faces and three-time legislator and two-time MP from Himachal Pradesh, Chandresh Kumari Katoch, is one of them. However, she represents Rajasthan and not Himachal. A few weeks ago she was expressing her wish to come back to Himachal Politics, but the sacrifice now seems to have turned out as a reward for her.As the date of polling for the assembly election of Himachal Pradesh gets closer, the political activity has gained a great momentum and star campaigners are reigning Himachal to promote the candidates of their respective parties. Here are a few updates

Enjoy the Blame Game

The political drama inspired from the assembly election in Himachal is almost at peak as the polling date is nearing. This time, the corruption dominates as a weapon for the the ruling BJP government and the opposition, which is being used for distracting the people and balancing their own acts of corruption by dragging the other one in the mud pit. Prof. Prem Kumar Dhumal claims that the BJP government has been nearer to the common man and the people identifies itself with the government. On the other hand, Congress leader Virbhadra Singh accuses Mr. Dhumal of selling the state land to outsiders and private owners on the name of promoting educational institutes and mismanagement in spending 10,000 crore rupees granted to the state of Himachal Pradesh during last four years. This year only, the BJP government has been granted 3000 crore rupees from the center. Moreover, the happy faces of BJP, backed up by RSS, have received a great jolt due to the allegations Nitin Gadkari, the BJP Chief, is facing. Creating fake companies and then make them invest in his Purti Group sounds embarrassing, but not for Gadkari as he agrees to a proper probe into the matter.

The Congress is targeting Anurag Thakur, the dear son of Prof. Dhumal, who is the current president of the HPCA. The congress points out that although, the BJP boasts of the appreciable work done by Anurag for the promotion of cricket in the state, but at the same time Dhumal has been showing favorable attitude towards his son. Although, Anurag is being credited for the construction of 600 crore international cricket stadium in Dharamshala, but the allotment of land to HPCA for the construction of a luxurious hotel and a few other issues such as the expenditure of 64 lack that was shown officially to the government during the league matches at Dharamshala are a few questions being raised by the opposition. Moreover, Shanta Kumar, former chief minister of Himachal and present Vice President of BJP, accepted that corruption had infected his party (BJP) too and Dhumal failed to take any hard measures to prevent it. As a return fire, every BJP leader is targeting Singh for the Ispat-pay off and demanding explanations regarding the money transfers.

The Congress also found some relief as the attention of the public has been diverted by the media towards the Gadkari Scandal. This keeps the issue of their retaliation to the fair judicial inquiries into the Robert Vadra land deals, Colgate Scam and recent allegations on Salman Khurshid, less in focus for the time being. Rajaji already being targeted by the ruling party in the CD case and DLF land deals in Solan district. If you are not sheep than you couldn’t resist wondering what’s the difference between these two political parties.

What do the affidavits released by candidates for the assembly elections of Himachal say

We hope the voters of Himachal are observing the drama closely this time. The affidavits released by the candidates for the assembly elections of Himachal provides relevant information about the candidates. Here are some of the facts that you must know.

As per the analysis of the Himachal Pradesh Election Watch along with think-tank National Election Watch, 37% (163 of 445) of the candidates contesting for the assembly elections in Himachal admitted that they never filed income tax return. Marxist leader Rakesh Singh, Vijay Jayoti, an independent candidate,and CPM candidate Tikender Panwar are the main highlights of the list.

Out of the total 459 candidates, 146 candidates own assets of more than a crore. 16 % (69 of 429) candidates are facing criminal cases and the majority of them are involved in crimes like kidnapping, theft and dacoity. Out of the total 459 candidates, 38 are under matriculate.

Candidates Fielded By Various Parties

Arch rivals Pandit Sukh Ram and Virbhadra Singh joins hand once again

The Congress chief Virbhadra Singh is going with the flow and actually looking to get the power back at any cost. First VS Mankoita, who had released the audio CD against Rajaji, became friends suddenly after a long rivalry and now he is sharing the stage with Pandit Sukh Ram, who had become Singh’s rival after he had supported the BJP in 1998. The scene was set in Dehar area under Balh segment, where these two rivals joined hands again during an electoral rally campaigning for Prakash Chaudhary – the congress candidate from the segment. Well, it’s a nice move and it adds to the advantage of the Congress.

Do you still mind ‘Cash for Query’ Scandal?

The pressure on the BJP campus is so high that it decided to field former MP Suresh Chandel, who was suspended in the ‘cash for query’ sting operation in 2005 and was denied ticket for 2007 assembly elections. He had admitted accepting money for raising questions in Lok Sabha. However, the voters also seem to have forgotten the past sins of a tainted minister. That just helped Suresh Chandel receive a ticket from Bilaspur this time.We guess, he must have displayed a great number of supporters on his side. After all, everything is fair in love and war

Himachal Flooded with star party campaigners

Nitin Gadkari
The BJP chief Nitin Gadkari visited Rikong Peo and interiors of Chopal for his party campaign. Gadkari is bold enough to go out for party campaigns when his character is in question due to the allegations framed against him.While RSS hurried to distance with the alleged Gadkari, BJP came out in support of him and allowed him to continue his position for another session. It’s not hard to understand why BJP did not force him to resign. Is it? Well, at the present moment Himachal and Gujarat voters have been watching everything going on since last couple of months. A resignation would mean admitting or taking responsibility for something and moreover, our respected prime minister, Manmohan Singh, has already set an idol and a reason for the other parties to neither resign or go for a fair investigation. Gadkari didn’t speak anything regarding the corruption charges levelled against him, but he emphasized on the development of tourism and, of course, he didn’t forget to blame the Congress for the present face of corruption through which the state has been going through.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
Yesterday, the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh campaigned for the Congress in Una, while the opposition leader L.K. Advani too did the same at Amb, very close to Mr. Singh. The PM showered words in appreciation for UPA and for all the development work that took place during last the last 7 years in Himachal. Contrary to this, L.K. Advani blamed the UPA for not being fair to BJP government and treating it like a step –mother in Himachal. Manmohan Singh also added that the condition of Himachal has degraded in the last 5 years and if elected to power, the Congress would do anything to put the state back on track. Other than these, Mayawati, the BSP Chief has started campaigning a bit earlier.

Upcoming Campaigns
Campaign rallies by Narender Modi, the Chief Minister of Gujarat, are scheduled for the today. Moreover, Shimla and Kangra would be getting crowded on October 30 as Sonia Gandhi will visit Himachal again after launching the party campaign earlier this month from Mandi. Surprises are predictable as the fight is getting tougher among the two major political parties in Himachal. Unfortunately, TMC received a blow as its list of 20 member campaigning team for Himachal including Mamata Banerjee was rejected by EC.The list was submitted after the due date decided for the submission, hence, was not approved by EC.

CPI(M) Blames MC Shimla for biased behavior

CPI(M) leader Balbir Prashar wrote a letter to the Chief Election Commissioner complaining regarding the false statements of MC Shimla, which it has been giving to protect the BJP and TMC. He said that these parties did not seek any prior permission from MC Shimla for placement of their party hoarding and at the same time CPI(M) has been denied the permission to place its hoardings. It sounds like the victory of CPI(M) leaders on two important seats of Mayor and Deputy Mayor in MC elections has added a bit more material to the fear of the present government.

Certainly, the drama will continue for the whole next week. If you have been observing the statements and actions of both, Congress and BJP, then you might have realized that BJP is losing grip in the state. On the other hand, the scams and scandal are coming out in bundles and both the major rivals are forced to deviate the public using the blame game. Worst of all dreams, the strong hold of Left in the capital city Shimla is the biggest nightmare for these parties. The saffron and tricolor must not underestimate the consistent efforts of the red. We guess, RTI has a good role behind bringing out information regarding these scams and violations of laws. However, the major part of the population is still not aware of the power of questioning the government. As HW already mentioned, the Democratic form of the government is useless for the public that doesn’t dare to question their representatives.

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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