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.
HPBOSE Chairman Gets EC Notice over Model Code of Conduct Violation in Dharamshala Constituency
Dharamshala-The Chairman of Himachal Pradesh Board of School Education, Suresh Soni, was on October 17, 2019, given a notice by the Returning Officer, Dharamshala, over violation of Model Code of Conduct (MCC).
The complaint was forwarded by ADM cum Nodal Officer (MCC) Kangra. The Chairman was found using his official vehicle for campaigning in Dharamshala despite the MCC being in force due to by-elections in two constituencies.
The Returning Officer (SDM, Dharamshala) has asked the Department to send a detailed inquiry report along with certified copies of the log-book and the statement of the driver of the Chairman, HPBOSE.
The EC has also asked the Board to cite the reasons behind allowing a breach of the directions of the Election Commission of India despite being aware of the MMC norms.
HP Congress Committee has been alleging the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party of misusing government machinery for campaigning and influencing voters in violation of MCC norms. Congress has also been alleging that the Election Commission was not taking actions on its complaints. On October 17, 2019, Congress had held a march “Save Democracy” in Pachhad constituency over alleged failure of EC to take action on its complaints.
HPCC President Kuldeep Rathore has also been alleging the EC of working under pressure from the ruling government. He had made a complaint to the EC alleging that the Deputy Commissioner, Sirmaur, was working as an agent of BJP instead of discharging his duty in an unbiased manner.
Earlier, the Speaker Rajive Bindal had also received a notice from EC over campaigning for BJP in Pachhad constituency. The current notice strengthens the allegations of Congress regarding foul play and misuse of government machinery by the ruling party for campaigning.
Congress Holds ‘Save Democracy March’ in Pachhad Alleging EC of Inaction on BJP’s MCC Violations
Sirmaur-Congress today organized “Save Democracy March” in Pachhad constituency ahead of the by-election. The rally was led by HPCC President Kuldeep Singh Rathore, who later submitted a memorandum to the Chief Electoral Officer, Himachal Pradesh, through SDM, Rajgarh, alleging a foul play and violations of Model Code of Conduct by BJP leaders and ministers Mahinder Singh Thakur, Birender Kanwar and Speaker Rajeev Bindal in Pachhad assembly constituency.
He also said that government machinery was misused on a large scale and government servants were being pressurised to work for BJP candidate and that Election Commission has failed altogether to check violation of Model Code of Conduct.
Rathore claimed that despite all foul play and violation of MCC by BJP, Congress is all set to register a landslide victory in Pachhad assembly constituency and Dharamshala Constituency because party workers have poured in great efforts in door-to-door campaigning in both the assembly constituencies.
Rathore has been campaigning in these constituencies ever since the date of announcement of elections. He had campaigned in all areas of Dharamshala assembly constituency from October 2 to October 9, 2019.
Thereafter, he moved to Pachhad assembly constituency and has been campaigning there from October 10. Rathore claimed that these by-elections will set a stage for departure of BJP government from Himachal Pradesh in 2022 as Congress is comfortably winning both these seats in the bye-election 2019.
Video: BJP MP Suresh Kasyap Alleged of Offering Cash for Vote in Pachhad, CM Jairam Terms it False Propaganda
Sirmaur- A video showing some youth alleging Suresh Kashyap, a Bharatiya Janata Party leader, Member of Parliament, and ex-MLA of Pachhad Vidhan Sabha Constituency, of offering Rs 5000 in return of their vote has created a stir in the already charged political atmosphere ahead of the by-elections.
About a dozen persons including women could be seen in the video that is going viral. One of the youths named Kashyap and alleged he is trying to buy votes. The youth also claimed that others visible in the video were also present when he offered money.
Another youth also admitted that money was allegedly offered to voters. These youth can be heard criticising the BJP MP, terming it an undemocratic mean to fetch votes. The youth said they want development in their constituency and would vote for only the candidate who would ensure it.
The youth talked about the poor condition of roads and other problems in their constituencies.
The identity of the people visible in the video and place of recording was yet to be identified by the officials of the election commission or media.
In response to the video and allegation of cash for vote in Pachhad, Chief Minister Jairam Thakur said that he had not watched any such video and came to know about it only through media. He rejected the allegations and said circulation of such videos is quite common during elections.
He said the electoral officer of the Pachhad constituency, SDM, Rajgarh, Naresh Kumar, has been given orders to investigate the allegations.
He said that BJP is in power at Centre and State, therefore, it neither requires nor believes in such means to lure voters.
MP Suresh Kashyap also rejected the allegations saying that Congress had been trying to create controversy since the beginning of its political campaign. Congress had been alleging BJP of supplying trucks of pipes, gas cylinders, distributing cash for votes etc., which are baseless, Kashyap said.
A couple of days ago, Congress had alleged that Cabinet Minister Vipin Parmar was holding a meeting with government officials at the circuit house at Dharamshala in violating of Model Code of Conduct (MCC). Congress had also alleged that money was being distributed to lure voters in Dharamshala constituency. Congress workers had shouted slogans outside the circuit house, a video of which was circulating on social media.
Earlier, the Speaker of the HP Vidhan Sabha had also received notice from the Election Commission, seeking his clarification on allegation of campaigning for BJP in violation of MCC.
The contest in the Pachhad constituency became tougher for BJP as one of its leaders, Dayal Payari, rebelled against the party and filed her nomination to contest against BJP’s official candidate Reena Kashyap as an independent candidate. While BJP was successful in convincing another rebel, Ashish Sikta, to withdraw his nomination as an independent candidate, it could not convince Dayal Payari. Congress is expecting that this rebel candidate would divide the BJP’s vote bank and benefit its candidate Gangu Ram Musafir.
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