Mandi: In a public rally held at Paddal Ground in Mandi on October 7, 2017, the National Congress Vice-President, Rahul Gandhi, has announced Virbhadra Singh as the high command’s choice for Chief Ministerial candidate in the upcoming HP Assembly elections.
Rahul said Virbhadra is a ‘Fakir’ in the true sense. He urged the party leaders and workers to stand united to elect him as their Chief Minister for the seventh time.
On the other hand, Bhartiya Janata Party has still kept the state leaders in a dilemma. BJP is internally divided into two camps. The political activity and demand of the Union Health Minister JP Nadda have significantly increased recently.
Former Chief Minister, Prem Kumar Dhumal, is being over-shadowed by Nadda’s active presence. The Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also shown overwhelming appreciation towards the Union Minister at the recent political rally held in Bilaspur district.
While addressing the rally, Rahul focused on comparing development model of Gujrat and criticised the NDA government for demonetization and GST. He did not speak of the corruption charges against the Chief Minister and other repeated allegations of BJP regarding the presence of forest and mining mafia in Himachal.
Chief Minister provided employment to around 70,000 youth in the government sector, he said.
The Congress-led state government gave unemployment allowance of Rs.1000 to the unemployed whereas there is no such provision in Gujarat. The government opened or upgraded as many as 15000 schools whereas the Gujarat government closed 13,000 schools during last five years, said Rahul.
HP government opened four medical colleges, 57 degree colleges as opposite to Gujarat where just 25 degree colleges have been opened and no medical college during last five years.
The financial assistance for housing for different categories is Rs 1.30 lakh to poor in Himachal and mere Rs 70,000 in Gujarat. Social security pension in Himachal is Rs.700 per month and mere Rs.450 in Gujarat.
Rest, Rahul repeated the same claims regarding development in education, healthcare, youth employment etc. that the Chief Minister had been making.
He blamed Union government and PM Narendra Modi for the decline in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and fall in GDP by 2 percent and said it led to mismanagement of the economic reforms.
He said the NDA Government has created trouble for all sections of the society by imposing Goods and Service Tax (GST). Services are now more expensive.
Instead of one tax throughout the country, the NDA has imposed five different types of taxes completely derailing the economy with the imposition of 28 percent tax from the very onset.
Modi government failed to provide employment to two crore youth, as he had promised before elections. The Modi government failed to protect the interest of farmers as hundreds of farmers are committing suicide in the country. Loan waiver policies of the Union government also made a mockery of farmers in the name of waiving off loans, said Rahul.
People were family members to me and I don’t have servant-master relation with them,
He said that 95 percent of the educational institutions are opened during the successive Congress regimes in the state. During last five years the government has opened or upgraded around 230 health institutions in the state, he said.
BJP Misinforming Public over Credit for AIIMS
He alleged BJP of misinforming people about the AIIMS. The government provided the land for AIIMS as demanded by the Union Health Ministry, but the BJP state leaders claimed that Union Government sanctioned AIIMS and gave funds for it, he said.
I want to make it clear that it was the responsibility of the central government’s to provide state share for undertaking development and the funds provided for AIIMS was not from anyone’s personal pocket, it was the funds from ‘Bharat Sarkar’ from the share of the state which the state government deserve and have full right to ask for,
said the Chief Minister adding
The Central Government can boast of funds provided to Union territories which were under the direct control of the Union government but it can’t claim the share of states as its own.
He said irrespective of the government in the centre, it is the moral duty of the Union government to release the funds earmarked for the states.
At the time of the formations of the state, there were hardly 288 kilometers of road and today the total road length stands 37,000 kilometers, he said
The state achieved 100 percent electrification, every village has drinking water facilities, he said. There are137 degree colleges in the state and 57 were opened in this tenure of my government.
MP Anand Sharma’s Visit to Himachal Heats Up Politics After District Admin Cancels Two Inauguration Ceremonies
Shimla- Senior Congress leader and sitting MP Rajya Sabha Anand Sharma is on a four-day visit to Himachal Pradesh from Tuesday. During his visit, Sharma was supposed to inaugurate two developmental projects in Shimla. But the District Administration of Shimla has postponed the inauguration of these developmental projects. Congress has termed it a politically motivated step. This sudden cancellation of pre-planned ceremonies on the day of Sharma’s arrival has charged up the political atmosphere in the State, especially in the Shimla district.
The District Administration has written to Anand Sharma informing him that the two developmental projects he was supposed to inaugurate during his four-day visit to Himachal Pradesh had some unfulfilled official formalities and other pending works. The Administration said the community hall in Kleston was yet to obtain approval for the map of the building from the Municipal Corporation of Shimla, while the work of installing transformers at the old age home in Mashobra was yet to be completed.
The reason behind this decision is said to be the allegations labelled by a former Ward Councilor and BJP leader Sanjeev Sood that the map of the community hall was yet to be approved by the Municipal Corporation of Shimla and forest clearance was also pending. These allegations had also appeared in the media.
The District Congress Committee, Shimla (U) has opened a front against the District Administration for this sudden cancellation of the inauguration of two developmental projects and staged protests on Tuesday.
The DCC Shimla (U) staged a silent protest in front of the statue of Gandhi at the Ridge Maidan. Later, the workers marched to the Office of the Deputy Commissioner, Shimla, to register their protest.
Jitender Chaudhary – the President of the Committee- alleged that this cancellation was deliberate and purely politically motivated. He said the projects were funded through MPLAD by Sharma. Chaudhary also alleged that BJP was trying to take undue credit for these projects.
He alleged that the District Administration had already approved these two events, but cancelled them just a day before the arrival of the MP.
Chaudhary warned that if the District Administration still didn’t permit the inauguration of these projects, the party will stage more aggressive and massive protests.
Further, Congress Legislatures would also raise this issue aggressively in the HP Government’s Budget Session 2022-23. Anand Sharma – a senior Congress leader, former Union Minister and incumbent Rajya Sabha MP – is on a four-day visit to Himachal Pradesh. This visit has attracted the attention of both ruling and opposition parties. Sharma’s term as an MP ends next month, and speculations are being made that he could return to the State politics. The demise of Virbhadra Singh, who was the face of the Indian National Congress in Himachal Prades, has left a void in state politics and within the party.
Considering the stature of Sharma, after Virbhadra Singh there is hardly any Congress leader who could outshine him. Following the demise of Virbhadra Singh, the INC has no face to present as its Chief Ministerial candidate and several Congress leaders wish to grab this opportunity to change the power structure of the party in the State. This speculated return of Sharma to the State politics ahead of the Assembly elections to be held by the end of this year would be a nightmare for such Congress leaders. Further, it could pose a challenge for the BJP as Sharma is capable of settling the Congress party’s in-fighting and uniting it for the elections.
Big Responsibility to RS Bali, Appointed as District Poll Observer for Punjab Polls
Shimla-Raghubir Singh Bali has been entrusted with a big responsibility in the upcoming Punjab Assembly elections. All India Congress Committee has appointed Bali as one of the INC’s observers (Pathankot) in the polls.
The INC has appointed a total of 27 observers in 23 districts of Punjab, and RS Bali is the first name on this list. He has been assigned the responsibility from the Pathankot district.
This is not the first time RS Bali has been given a major responsibility by the high command. Earlier, he was assigned a major role in the West Bengal Assembly polls.
Other than Bali, Sudhir Sharma, Rajender Rana, and Rajneesh Kimta has also been appointed as observers from different districts.
AAP Forms ‘Committee’ to Strengthen Party in Himachal, Satish Thakur Appointed Chairman
Shimla-Aam Adami Party in Himachal Pradesh has expedited the process of forming and setting its house in order. This is evident from the ‘gherao, of the Vidhan Sabha in Dharamshala, followed by a press conference in Shimla. AAP has already announced to contest the elections on all 68 assembly seats in Himachal Pradesh. Very recently, the party also announced that it would also contest elections on all seats in the elections to the Shimla Municipal Corporation to be held in 2022.
In the press conference, AAP had also alleged that the state government used unnecessary police force which left many of its protesting workers injured.
AAP has already launched its membership drive. Unemployment, inflation, free electricity etc. are some of the issues the party has picked to gain the attention of the people.
Considering the campaigning pattern in the poll-bound neighbouring state Punjab, expect a variety of sops to woo the diverse voter bank. The party would definitely try to sell the Delhi model for development in Himachal Pradesh too. “Himachal Pradesh generates electricity and supplies it to neighbouring states including Delhi. If Delhi could provide free electricity then why not Himachal,” AAP spokesperson said in a press conference. Further, what bothers most the opponent parties is what they call ‘freebies politics of AAP’.
On top of it, the transformation of the government educational institutes in Delhi could also appeal to the people who are over-burdened with the hefty fees of the private institutes. The academic environment and infrastructure of government schools, which is in tatters, has left parents with no choice but to opt for private schools. But it’s to be seen as to how AAP balances the caste equation and regional distribution of power, especially after the haphazard formation of a Commission for the ‘ General Category’ in the state.
Yesterday, AAP constituted a “Central Development Organization Committee” for Himachal Pradesh. The purpose of this Committee, AAP said, is to strengthen the party and approach as much population as possible.
Sachin Roy would be the State Co-Ordinator and Satish Thakur was given the responsibility as the Chairman of the Committee. The formation of the Committee follows recommendations given by the APP state-in-charge, Ratnesh Gupta.
Other nominated members include Tilak Thakur, Naresh Thakur, Uttam Chand, Suresh Negi, Chaman Sharma, Doctor Balwant Dhindsa, Abhishek Thakur, Adarsh Mehta, Ramesh Thakur, Lakshman Negi, Raj Thakur and Uday Dogra.
The AAP state-chief, Advocate Anoop Kesari, congratulated all the members for being entrusted with these responsibilities.