Shimla: With the elections of 2019 nearing, growing drug and substance abuse among the youth of Himachal Pradesh (HP) has begun to become visible as a matter of great concern to the leaders of the Indian National Congress (INC). They want the new government to include the provision of more stringent laws against the drug peddlers. Unable to do much about it during the tenure of Congress, its leaders including Mukesh Agnihotri are now seeking action from Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur-led government of Bhartiya Janata Party.
Congress said it supports the government in matters related to the formation of stringent laws against drug mafia.
Congress expects the government to enact new laws in the monsoon session of the HP Legislative Assembly.
On August 20, Mukesh Agnihotri, the leader of the opposition, in a media statement said he wants the ruling government to make provision of capital punishment for drug peddlers and make peddling of synthetic drugs a non-bailable crime. He adored the recent decision of the government to conduct a joint meeting with seven neighbouring states. He also supported the proposal the Chief Minister had made in the meeting regarding the introduction of a mechanism for a regular medical checkup of the students to diagnose for symptoms of drug addiction or substance abuse.
The loopholes in the Narcotic Drugs & Psychoactive Substance (ND&PS), 1985, which were not visible to the leader of the opposition during the tenure of the INC, have now become conceivable. He pointed out that there is a provision of bail for Heroin (Chitta) offenders caught with a quantity up to five grams. He wants the new government to make the offence of peddling synthetic drugs non-bailable.
He made the new government aware of the fact that youth of the state is heading right towards the jaws of synthetic drug addiction.
Another group of Congress leaders led by the President of the HP Congress Committee and sitting MLA of Naduan, Sukhwinder Sukhu, with 15 other leaders, followed Agnihotri and met the Chief Minister on August 21 and submitted a memorandum to enact stringent laws against drug peddlers.
Sukku also wanted the Chief Minister to instil the fear of laws to discourage the drug peddlers. He could now see that the bordering areas of Himachal need joint efforts of the police of concerned states.
Also, now he has come up with several suggestions for the new government.
The Chief Minister has assured the Congress delegation that Himachal would be made a drug-free state.
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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