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.
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.