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Electing next Chief Minister of Himachal would be a tricky task for BJP

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BJP selects Chief Minister of Himachal

Four-time MLA Suresh Bhardwaj, who has been associated with the BJP since its inception and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), is the most deserving candidate for the post, say his supporters.  

Shimla: After the tragedy that struck the senior Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and former-Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, Prem Kumar Dhumal, the names of a couple of MLAs are doing rounds for being under consideration for the top post.

The BJP high-command has given the task to sort out this conflict to the Union ministers Nirmala Sitaraman and Narendra Singh Tomar. These two members will be in Himachal today to talk to all the stakeholders to judge the directions of the wind.

The caste does matter in Himachal, which apparently makes Thakur as the first choice.

It is noteworthy that despite his defeat, PK Dhumal camp is not stepping back and hoping for what appears to be impossible. Would BJP take such risk of electing a leader for the top position who individually failed to win elections?

In case of JP Nadda, it would cast a negative effect on the party management as his selection for the Chief Minister would leave a post vacant at the Centre. The government would have to spend on by-polls to fill this vacancy.  

Therefore, five times MLA Jairam Thakur, who has also served as the State party president and as a minister in the Dhumal government, is being speculated to be leading in the race. Thakur and some other MLAs like Rajiv Bindal and Suresh Bhardwaj were summoned by the high-command to the party headquarters.  

The supporters of four-times MLA Suresh Bhardwaj, who registered his third consecutive win on the Shimla-urban seat, are seeking high-commands attention.

Bhardwaj has a clean record with no criminal cases, a respectable academic record (Bsc. and LLB), and he has also served as the State party chief. The supporters argue that despite being a senior and highly experienced leader, Bhardwaj is being ignored deliberately as he is an honest politician.

Bhardwaj had become a member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh at a tender age. He has served as the Vice-President and President of Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad too, said his supporters.

He has been associated with the BJP since its inception during 1980 and was one of the leaders jailed during the emergency. He is the most deserving candidate for the post, said his supporters.

On his Facebook timeline, we came across a video of him, in which he recites his political carrer and achievements:

Other prominent names for the seat may include Mohinder Singh from Dharampur, who became MLA for the seventh time, and four-time MLA Krishan Kapoor.

The BJP registered a comfortable win with a full majority of 44 seats in the 68-member Legislative Assembly of Himachal Pradesh. However, this victory came with a touch of grey as the Chief Ministerial candidate of the party, Prem Kumar Dhumal, faced a humiliating defeat by the hands of his Congress rival Rajinder Rana with a margin of 2,933 votes in the battle for Sujanpur seat.    

The political critics are of the view that ill-fated Dhumal fell victim to its party’s own politics. The BJP-high command shifted him from his comfort zone Hamirpur to Sujanpur. The announcement came just nine days before the polling day – November 9, leaving no time for campaigning.

Prior to his announcement as the CM candidate, JP Nadda’s active presence and political activity had created suspicion in the minds of Dhumal camp. It appears, the high-command played a tricky game with Dhumal.

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BJP leasing out Govt land in Shimla worth crores to RSS-linked organizations at a throwaway price: CPI(M)

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HP Govt leasing out land in shimla to rss

Shimla: One day ahead of the Shimla Municipal Corporation’s meeting on June 29, Bhartiya Janata Party-led state government is facing criticism over the proposal to lease out government land to organizations associated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) at a throwaway rate.

At a time when the city needs land for public facilities like playgrounds for children, parking lots/complexes, community buildings etc., the government is being alleged of losing focus on the priorities.

The former Mayor of Shimla city and leader of the CPI(M), Sanjay Chauhan, on Thursday said the state government has decided to lease out two pieces of land owned by the HP Public Works Department worth crores to two of RSS’s organizations at a throwaway price, which is a complete misuse of the public property and resources, he said.

He said the current government has decided to lease out 22669.38 square meter land in Tutikandi in Shimla city to Matrivandana – an organization linked to the RSS.

Similarly, he further alleged, a piece of land measuring 257.15 square meters is being given to Vivekanand Kendra in Nabha at a throwaway price.

The government is rendering landless farmers homeless and snatching away their livelihood by evicting them from forest land and felling apple-laden trees, but at the same time, it is offering land to organizations which would use them to expand their propaganda, Chauhan said.

He further pointed out that the government has not provided even two Biswa piece of land to poverty-stricken, homeless families to build homes, however, it did decide to provide land worth crores in the middle of the city to the said organizations.

The party said the government is working on the direction of the RSS and deviating from its constitutional duties. The party has demanded a roll-back of these decisions at the earliest or to face public protests.

The land belongs to the people of Shimla and it must be utilized for their facilities instead of gifting it to organizations which are working to promote disharmony among the people.

Chauhan said.

Further, the SMC has proposed a hike in the honorarium given to the Mayor, Deputy Mayor, and Ward Councillors. A proposal to buy a new car for the Mayor is also on the list. The Deputy Mayor has also asked SMC to provide him with an official vehicle.

The SMC House is expected to witness a ruckus in tomorrow’s meeting as half a dozen of BJP’s Ward Councillors had demanded the removal of Mayor and Deputy Mayor following their failure to run the city efficiently.

Earlier, the Councillors had also submitted a written complaint regarding the duo to a minister. Some of them had even threatened to boycott the meeting if the demand was not met. However, no notice was served to move a dissolution motion.

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A dozen of BJP Councillors demand removal of Kusum Sadrate as Mayor, warn of boycott

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MAyor kususm sadret

Shimla: The Shimla city is facing more neglect from the Municipal Corporation as it continues to be in a defunct state owing to the internal feud between the Ward Councilors and the current Mayor Kusum Sadrate and Deputy Mayor Rakesh Sharma.

The Mayor was seen running after the annoyed Councillors to save her seat while the Deputy Mayor has no say.

A couple of days ago, about 11 BJP Councilors had reportedly expressed their disappointment with the performance of the Mayor by submitting a written complaint to the government.

The Councillors have warned the government that they will boycott the upcoming monthly meeting of the SMC House if the Mayor and Deputy Mayor were not removed.

The Sadrate has completed one year in the office of the Mayor on June 20, which made the situation more awkward for the party. 

In order to avert an embarrassment, the duo would have to make sure that majority of BJP Councillors attend this meeting.

The Councillors alleged the Mayor of displaying arbitrary attitude while conducting the business of the house. They also complained that majority of the developmental projects in their wards are either stuck or progressing at a snail’s pace.

The Councillors say they are not able to face the people of their respective wards, especially after what happened during the water-paucity.

Moreover, the Councillors were not happy with Mayor’s decision to leave the city for about a week to attend a conference in China amid an acute shortage of drinking water supply.

If that was not enough, she denied the suffering of the people by rejecting reports of a water-crisis situation in the town. According to the Mayor, the crisis was just a media hike and propaganda of the opposition.

At the same time, the Councillors are complaining that despite such clamour in the city, the Mayor is still not available even for them as she hardly stays at the office.

The Mayor reportedly joined the Chief Minister’s visit to Sawada while the Councillors were waiting for her to arrive at the office.

The Councillors said the Mayor is seen attending events or photo-shoots with Chief Minister or the Ministers, and rest of the time is spent in visits to the party office and Secretariat.

Further, these Councillors have been maintaining that the Mayor was not able to run the business of the MC House properly. The meetings of the House were not conducted regularly, and whenever they are conducted, there was hardly any time to debate the issues of the public interest. The last meeting did not last for even half-an-hour, said one of the offended Councilors.

Councillor Arti Chauhan has asked the Mayor to resign by taking moral responsibility of failure to fulfill the commitments made to the people before the elections.

Another Councillor said they had not elected Sadrate to enjoy tours and photo-shoots.

While the Mayor was in China, for the first time, Councillors and the Deputy Mayor of the ruling party had staged a walked out from a meeting when they were cornered by the opposition over the issue of failure to respond properly to the water crisis.

The rebel Councillors also expressed concern over degrading state of sanitation as the workers remained on strikes as many as four times during last one year. Further, the workers are now annoyed with the MC for its decision to out-source the door-to-door garbage collection in five Wards to a private contractor.

The Mayor, however, said she has done the best she could do. She showed faith in the government and her organization by denying news of revolt among the Councilors.

In the 34-member SMC, BJP had managed to grab power of the civic body for the first time in the elections held in 2017. While BJP has a support of 19 Councillors including two independent, Congress is not far behind at 14. The CPI (M) has one elected Councillor in the house too.

Earlier, the opposition Congress had almost convinced one of the BJP’s Councillor to support a motion to dissolve the MC and dethrone the Mayor and Deputy Mayor. The Councillor was reportedly offered the Deputy Mayor’s chair as an incentive. The opposition had even taken signatures of 14 Councillors who were supporting the dissolution of SMC.

However, the party high command had somehow managed to silence this Councillor as well others protesting against the current Mayor.  As it turned out, the situation has now become more complicated as the Councillors report no change in the attitude of the Mayor. 

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BJP MLA deceiving CM Jairam and people by re-laying foundation stones: Congress

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Narendra Bragta re-laying foundation stones in shimla

Shimla: Ahead of Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur’s Kotkhai visit on June 20, 2018, the elected legislator of Jubbal-Kotkhai constituency, Narendra Bragta, has been alleged of duping the Chief Minister as well as the public by re-laying foundation stones of the projects which were already sanctioned and the foundation stones of which were already laid.

It would be Chief Minister’s first visit after being elected in 2017 elections to the legislative assembly, and he is expected to lay foundation stones of various projects.

These allegations were labelled by the members of the Executive Committee of Congress in Jubbal-Nawar-Kotkhai division including the President Moti Lal Derta, Vice-President Ravindra Chauhan, and General Secretary Rakesh Chauhan in a joint media statement on Monday.

Not only this act of deception is denting the dignity of the CM’ chair but the people are also making fun of it.

The Committee has counted about six such projects, some of which are said to be in the list of foundation stone laying ceremonies in the constituency.

The Committee asked Bragta whether it is true or not that the foundations stone of the Kotkhai bus stand was laid on August 9, 2012, by the then-Transport Minister Mahendra Singh Thakur in his presence.

Similarly, the foundation stone of the Darkoti-Garavag irrigation scheme was already laid by then MLA Rohit Thakur in September 2017. The Committee pointed out that Himachal had received total funds of Rs. 338 crores and the Jubbal-Kotkhai constituency was given highest funds worth Rs. 63 crores for nine irrigation schemes. However, the current BJP government could not even complete the process of their tendering in last six months, said Congress.

The Committee further said the funds for the construction of an additional block of the State Tourism Development Corporation (HPTDC) in Kharapathar were also sanctioned in 2014 during the tenure of Congress government. The tender for the same was already awarded in November 2014, and BJP had played no role in it.

In 2008, Rs. 3 crores were sanctioned for the Saraswati Nagar stadium. These funds were, however, misused indiscriminately by near and dears of the MLA. Bragta had made claims of making it a world-class stadium, which did not happen, said the Committee, adding that all sports activities of the college were hit as the site of the proposed stadium remained in tatters until the previous MLA Rohit got another Rs. 35 lakh sanctioned to make it even.

Similarly, the Committee said, funds for the Pragtinagar Engineering College were also sanctioned during the previous Congress government in 2016-17 and the work was going on a war footing, and it does not make any sense to lay the foundation stone of such project.

These were the efforts to cover the failures of the government during last six months of its tenure while the people of the constituency still awaited deliverance of basic amenities, said the Committee.

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