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BJP announces Dhumal as Chief Ministerial candidate for HP Polls 2017

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BJP CM Candidate for Himachal elections 2017

Shimla: While addressing a public rally in Rajgarh of Sirmaur district, the BJP supremo Amit Shah finally announced Prem Kumar Dhumal as the Chief Ministerial candidate for the elections to the Legislative Assembly of Himachal Pradesh.

The Dhumal camp, which was in distress due to the suspense created by the BJP high-command over selection of the CM candidate, was rejoiced at hearing the announcement.

Dhumal was reportedly facing an internal competition with the Union Minister Jagat Prakash Nadda for the CM seat.

Earlier, BJP had said that it can go to polls in Himachal without declaring CM face. However, the chances of internal faction were increasing with the delay in announcement of the candidate for the CM seat.

Apparently, the Dhumal camp weighed heavy in terms of influence and supporter base.

Now, the Virbhadra-led Congress will be fighting Dhumal, who is further dependent on ‘Modi wave’.

As expected, the BJP’s star campaigners are targeting the corruption cases against Virbhadra Singh. The opposition claims that the State government of Himachal was provided sufficient funds for various development projects like construction of National-Highways, but the Congress government failed to utilize them.

Deviating from the ground level needs, the BJP has now introduced Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel into the scene.

Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru was responsible for the creation of Pakistan, said BJP. There would have been no division of India if Patel had the charge of the nation, it said.

The party has released its ‘vision document’ recently. BJP is repeating the promise made during 2014 Lok Sabha Elections like doubling income of farmers, home for every citizen, helplines for women etc.

While BJP is challenging Congress to justify it tenure of five years in terms of achievements in Himachal, it is other way round in case of Centre where the Congress is poking PM Modi over his unfulfilled promises. 

At the same time, the CBI probe against the CM and alleged shoddy investigation work by the State Police in the cases pertaining to forest guard Hoshiyar Singh and gangrape and murder of a minor in Kotkhai are trouble the Congress.

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HP Govt re-shuffles 34 IAS officers amid ongoing plethora of assuarances to public

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List of HP IAS transfered

Shimla: The new Government of Himachal Pradesh, led by the Chief Minister Jairam Thakur, has re-shuffled 34 IAS officials on January 5, 2018. Amongh these 34 officials, 10 were posted as the Deputy Commissioners of various districts.

Vikas Labro and Yunus Khan were the only two IAS Officers, who were not transfered and still hold the post of DCs of Una and Kullu respectively.

While there is nothing new in re-shuffling officials occupying important positions with the change in the government, a different pattern was observed emerging for the selection of candidates for these positions.

For the most important positions, the party is picking up candidates with a strong right-wing ideological background,well-tuned with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and had served dedicatedly as full-timers for the Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP).

Other than this major decision to re-shuffle the administrative officials, the Chief Minister, Jairam Thakur, and his cabinet ministers continue to assure the public of delivering massive reforms in the governance and administration.

The Chief Minister, right after the swearing-in ceremony on December 27, had told the people that he would go after the ‘VIP Culture’. He had expressed consternation about the poor financial health of the Hill State, which is buried under a gigantic loan of Rs. 46,000 crores.

The biggest assurance is that the party and its ministers will imbibe and embody the concept of political equality as a way of life.

As Chief Minister is said to have hailed from a common farmer community, the people are expecting to witness a change in the feudal mindset of the politicians, ministers, and bureaucrats. The public thought this time all official formalities like the oath-taking ceremony, the usual cavalcade of luxury cars, and grand welcomes would be simpler instead of usual pompous display of power and privilege.

Grand Ceremony, Demand for Luxuries,  Transfers  

However, the ceremony came out to be pompous one in which a large number of so called VIPs including the BJP’s top guns Amit Shah and Narendra Modi and Chief Ministers of several states were invited.

Though, the Chief Minisiter denied it, the reports regarding the demand of the ministers for more expensive luxury vehicles and the quarrell over official residences are not going with the claims of ending VIP culture. 

Public Money Frittered Away on Bouquets

Other than that, as per a Hindi Daily Jagran, the Chief Minister was greeted at the State Secretariat by presenting him bouquets. The cost of these bouquets, said the daily, ranged between Rs. 300 to 1,000 depending on the quality and quantity of the flowers. However, the bureaucrats did not spend on these expensive bouquets from their own pockets, but from official accounts. A plethora of bouquets was seen at the Chief Minister’s Office or any place he visited.

After the news appeared in the paper, the Chief Minister issued directions that no official visiting him would present bouquets.  

The Chief Minister had fired all the re-employed officials after their retirement. The party has made the re-employment of retired employees a major issue prior to the elections. However, now the government has realized that in some cases, it can’t help it either.

In a cabinet decision taken yesterday, the service of 214 retired patwaris/kanungos engaged on contract basis were given extension till August, 2018 until the new batch of 1120 patwaris undergoing training will be recruited.

Further, the Chief Minister today proposed setting up more micro and small scale industries using the ample surplus land under Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB).    

Yesterday’s Assurances by CM and Cabinet Ministers

There would be zero tolerance towards the crime against women and corruption, said the Chief Minister while annoucing a 24×7 ‘Gudiya’ helpline today. The Chief Minister during his visit to the Press Club. To curb the corruption, the Atal Help Line will be provided, he said. 

The Cabinet Ministers are also conducting meetings with their concerned departments and assuring a revolution in work culture.

Industries Minister Bikram Singh 

Bikram Singh today assured he would make the state an industrial hub of the country in 100 days. As geographical variations have always limited the expansion of industries in the state, Bikram assured uniform industrialization by introducing a ‘New Industrial Policy’ focusing on ‘Rural Industrialization’.

He assured at the very least 80 per cent employments in up-coming industrial units to the youth of Himachal.

The minister also assured the Mining Officers will conduct regular inspection and form a special flying squad to check illegal mining. H

e said the mining sites and quarries will be auctioned in a transparent manner.

Minister for Food, Civil Supplies Kishan Kapoor

Similarly, Kishan Kapoor, in a meeting of Officers of  Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs  Department at Shimla today, promised there will be no compromise on quality of essential commodities under PDS.

The officers will physically go in the field and conduct regular inspection of fair price shops, take samples and ensure reporting, he claimed.  

Kapoor assured all the ration cards will be linked with Aadhar Number within 100 days. A toll free numbers 1967 is already functioning to redress the grievances of consumers, he said.

The government is giving a subsidy of more than 220 crore on subsidized food in Himachal, and it is  the “duty of officers to ensure quality in this ration to provide best food to consumers in every nook and corner of the State,” he said.

Urban development, Housing and TCP Minister Sarveen Chaudhary

Minister Sarveen Chaudhary on January 5 presided over a review meeting of HIMUDA. She assured the concerned officials will complete all the developmental projects in a time bound manner. She said “no compromise will be tolerated in the quality of works and complete transparency should be maintained in the departmental affairs”.

The Minister gave the department 100 days for highlighting the priority of works with the projection of the cost and resource management. She said a cleanliness drive will be launched in the state, if the statement of the Minister is considered.

As per the Minister, so far, the HIMUDA has developed 17,229 houses, flats and plots.

The construction of 146 flats and development of 181 plots is in progress, while four housing colonies at Sheel, Dharmapur, Trilokpur and Rajwari are in pipeline, she said.

The minister is assuring construction of five clusters for solid waste management in Baddi, Hamirpur, Kangra, Shimla and Mandi. Vendor markets will be opened in different parts of the state and all possibilities of providing parking spaces will be explored.

The new government has promise fixing the errors in working of government departments. These sessions of claims and promises are likely to continue for a month or so.

The Chief Minister is repeatedly expressing gratitude towards the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the party high-command for giving him a chance to serve. He also assured the public that the foot-steps of PM Modi in the field of development will be followed in Himachal too.

Administrative Policy Paralysis

However, the biggest challenge for the government would be to do away with the administrative policy paralysis.

To the dismay of the public, there has been a major debate over the excess interference of legislature with the executive, which often prompted the judiciary to step in. The relation between the political class and the permanent executive hasn’t been so healthy.

It is evident from the repeated need of the intervention from the apex court to make the government work properly.

The court’s intervention comes in response to petitions by the vigilant section of the civil society, watchful media and the Right to Information Act.

In fact, with an intention to put a check increasing erratic and unresponsive executive power, the apex court had ordered formation of the Civil Service Board.

 

 

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Misc News/Press Release

Final list of ‘HP Cabinet portfolios’ allotted to ministers

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HP CM Jairamthakur with Modi

Shimla: The Chief Minister Jairam Thakur has finalized allotment of the portfolios to the ministers of his cabinet. On Thursday, the ministers desperately waited for the decision on the portfolios, which did not arrive. However, the suspense ended on Friday. 

HP Cabinet Portfolios

Jai Ram Thakur Public Works Department, Tourism and Excise and Taxation, Revenue (CM)
Mahender Singh  Irrigation and Public Health besides Horticulture and Sainik Welfare.
Kishan Kapoor Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs and Elections.
Suresh Bhardwaj Education, Parliamentary Affairs, Law and Legal Affairs
Anil Sharma Minister for Power and Multipurpose Projects in additional to Non-Conventional Energy Resources.
Sarveen Chaudhary Urban Development, Town and Country Planning and Housing.
Ram Lal Markanda Agriculture, Information Technology and Tribal Affairs
Vipin Singh Parmar  Health, Medical Education, Ayurveda, Science and Technology.
Virender Kanwar Rural Development, Panchayati Raj, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries.
Bikram Singh Industries, Labour and Employment, Technical Education, Vocational and Industrial Trainings.
Govind Singh  Forests, Transport, Youth Services and Sports.
Rajiv Saizal Social Justice and Empowerment besides Minister for Department of Cooperation

Earlier, on Thursday, maintaining the tradition, the Chief Minister also made courtesy calls on Prem Kumar Dhumal and Virbhadra Singh at their respective residences.

Related Story: For more details read about all ministers of Jairam’s newly formed HP Cabinet

After giving a jolt to the chairmen and re-employed retired bureaucrats of various Departments of the Himachal Pradesh Government on his swearing-in day, the newly appointed Chief Minister, Jairam Thakur, remained in news on Thursday for the announcement of a new year gift of three percent dearness allowance (DA) to the employees of the State government.

 

DA to hp govt employees

After the internal tussle for the seat of the Chief Minister, now the elected cabinet ministers were said to have been lobbying to get their desired portfolios.

Jairam Thakur at Virbhadra Singh residence

Jairam Thakur at the residence of former CM- Virbhadra Singh/ Photo: Virbhadra Singh

Earlier, on Thursday, the CM addressed the employees of the HP Secretariat and announced that the government employees will receive a DA at the rate of three percent with the salary on February 1, 2018. The DA will be calculated since July 1, 2017, to January 2018. The pensioners will also receive the benefits, the CM had informed. For the allowance, the government will bear an additional financial expenditure of approximately Rs. 187 crore per annum.

He told the government employees to not consider their duties secondary. Though it is least expected from the employees, the CM did appeal to the to work beyond the duty hours to give enough time to the society and for the benefit of the people.

Like the previous-CM Virbahdra Singh, Jairam said,

Though the government endeavours to provide jobs in the government sector, I do believe that the mindset for only seeking government jobs be eschewed

There was no age to learn and one should learn at every stage of life, said the Chief Minister very sincerely.

I am open to the suggestions everytime, and I believe that suggestion by a common man can be fruitful and can be a turning point for betterment in the life,

he said.

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HW Big Picture

Pictures from swearing-in ceremony of Himachal’s new Chief Minister  

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HP Chief Minister Jairam oath taking ceremony on the shimla ridge 2

Shimla: With the swearing-in ceremony concluding yesterday, Himachal Pradesh received its new government under the leadership of the Chief Minister Jairam Thakur of the Bhartiya Janata Party.

Himachal Watcher has a few images that we thought might interest our readers, especially those who missed the ceremony held on December 27 on the historic Shimla Ridge Maidan with a great pomp and show.   

New HP Chief Minister oath taking ceremony 10

The new Chief Minister swung into action immediately after taking the oath of the office and secrecy and held his first meeting with the 12-membered cabinetYou can read the decisions taken by the cabinet here

New HP Chief Minister oath taking ceremony3

Photo: Tarun Sharma

Though Jairam Thakur has expressed his wish to abolish the VIP culture, his own oath-taking ceremony remained a display of political strength and extravagant expenditures on facilitation of not only the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, but also for his big guns including Union Ministers and Chief Ministers of several states.

New HP Chief Minister oath taking ceremony 8

Does it make sense for a state to spend on grand ceremonies when it is debt-ridden?

HP Chief Minister Jairam oath taking ceremony on the shimla ridge 5

We hope there are others who would accede to the idea of adopting simplicity while performing such formalities. However, this perspective of ours can’t be forced on anyone.

So, either way, these images will interest you. There was massive crowd comprising BJP supporters and Modi fans.  Remember, Mr Modi and BJP have become two different identities within the party. In Himachal, the people seem to have voted for Modi, not for the BJP. 

Otherwise, why would people elect BJP but reject its Chief Ministerial candidate and party president of the State BJP?

New HP Chief Minister oath taking ceremony

New HP Chief Minister oath taking ceremony 9

New HP Chief Minister oath taking ceremony6

New HP Chief Minister oath taking ceremony 5

New HP Chief Minister oath taking ceremony4

HP Chief Minister Jairam oath taking ceremony on the shimla ridge 14

HP Chief Minister Jairam oath taking ceremony on the shimla ridge 9

HP Chief Minister Jairam oath taking ceremony on the shimla ridge 7

HP Chief Minister Jairam oath taking ceremony on the shimla ridge 6

All HW Photo: Tarun Sharma

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