Turbulent Himachal Politics
Himachal politics is turbulent in election year as both the main political parties are gearing up for next assembly elections later this year. Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh’s winter sojourn to lower areas has generated much heat this year.
During his programmes in different assembly segments, Chief Minister has inaugurated and laid foundation stones of developmental projects worth several crores. Besides announcing new offices at different places, his masterstroke was declaring Dharamshala as the second capital of Himachal. The Congress government is aiming for ‘Mission Repeat’.
The opposition party is also rejuvenating its rank and file by holding Tridev Sammelans in four parliamentary constituencies of the state. After BJP national president Amit Shah’s Tridev Sammlean in Solan, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley addressed one such programme at Shahpur. The opposition party is launching scathing attack on Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh led Congress government in its bid to accomplish ‘Mission 50 plus’.
Highlights Of Winter Sojourn
In addition to numerous announcements in different assembly segments, some of the highlights of Chief Minister’s winter sojourn are:
* Dedicated and laid foundation stones of a dozen projects worth Rs. 57 crore in Dharmashala constituency
* SDM office at Indora
* Constitution of a Kalyan Board for Dhiman community
* Wazir Ram Singh Pathania Stadium in Nurpur
* Inaugurated SDM office at Fatehpur
* Sub tehsil at Kakira in Chamba
* Ropeway at Palampur, degree college for Multhan in Baijnath
* SDM office at Dheera, IPH sub division in Sulah constituency
* Hostel, coaching facilities for OBC students preparing for civil services
* Tribal hostel at Nurpur
Importance Of Kangra In ‘Mission Repeat’
Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh’s winter sojourn is more important this year even as the government has been focusing on this politically significant district for the past one year. Kangra remains at the top of Virbhadra’s agenda as this district having 15 assembly seats is considered to be the gateway to assuming power in the state. It has been witnessed in the past that party which wins maximum seats from Kangra forms the government in Himachal.
The Congress government has accorded top priority to Kangra as this district was responsible for the downfall of previous BJP government in last assembly elections. The entire government will stay at Dharamshala during Chief Minister’s winter sojourn. The second phase of Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh’s winter sojourn will begin after January 31 when he is likely to visit Mandi, Bilaspur, Hamirpur and Kullu districts. After Kangra, Mandi district is also of great political significance for both the Congress and BJP. The Congress has also directed ministers, MLAs and organisational leaders about the tour during which inaugurations and foundation stones of big projects have been planned.
Bali Raises the Heat
Transport Minister GS Bali again raised the issue of his neglect during Rahul Gandhi’s rally at Dharamshala by saying that Chief Minister must have ensured where his Cabinet ministers were given seats. Talking to media person while starting two new Volvo buses from Palampur, Bali added that neither he was annoyed with any official nor has recommended anybody’s transfer. Clarifying on not participating in CM’s public meetings, Bali added that he would attend whenever Chief Minister asks him to participate. Notably, GS Bali did not attend the Cabinet meeting held at Dharamshala on January 18.
Dharamshala Is Himachal’s Second Capital
Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh’s masterstroke was declaring Dharamshala as the second capital of Himachal Pradesh. Camping at Dharamshala during his annual winter sojourn, he made this declaration after news appeared in some sections of the media, which said that the state government was meditating over declaring Dharamshala as Winter Capital of the state for two months in a year.
Chief Minister said that Dharamshala had a significance and history of its own and fully deserved to be the second capital of the state. He said that Dharamshala held a special importance and value to the lower areas of Himachal Pradesh including Kangra, Chamba, Hamirpur and Una districts. People of these areas would now be benefitted of this special status and they would not have to travel to longer distance for their works.
* Dharamshala held a special importance and value to lower areas of the state including Kangra, Chamba, Hamirpur and Una districts. People of these areas would now be benefitted of this special status
-Virbhadra Singh, Chief Minister
Virbhadra Started Winter Sojourn In 1994
Notably, a full-fledged Winter Session of HP Vidhan Sabha was held for the first time outside Shimla in December, 2005. A complete Vidhan Sabha Bhawan is already working at Tapovan, for which the foundation was laid in his last tenure in 2006. This town had already been a witness of holding 12 Winter Sessions of HP Vidhan Sabha so for. Virbhadra Singh had also introduced the practice of annual winter sojourn way back in 1994.
BJP Rejuvenating Party Cadre
Riding on Modi wave, the state BJP is also rejuvenating its rank and file to a accomplish its ‘Mission 50 Plus’ during next assembly elections due in Himachal later this year.
All BJP leaders, including Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley targeted Himachal chief Minister Virbhadra Singh during party’s Tridev Sammelan held at Chambi in Shahpur. Arun Jaitley alleged that Virbhadra Singh was the first chief minister who is not only facing corruption allegations but there are sufficient proof against him. “Virbhadra’s corruption is being discussed across the country. Virbhadra indulges in corruption but holds Delhi responsible when caught,” accused Jaitley, adding that corruption cases were registered against him during previous UPA government’s tenure. Claiming that centre was extending liberal financial assistance for various schemes, Union Minister said the state government did not have the capability to implement schemes. It has not been able to prepare even DPRs of central projects, said Jaitley while highlighting the importance of demonetisation. Jaitley also lauded senior BJP leader and MP Shanta Kumar for taking a lead in opposing corruption. Tridev Sammelan started by Himachal BJP president Satpal Satti and party organisation is a model for the BJP in country, he added.
-By Pawan Sharma/Dharamshala
Nadda In Himachal Politics?
There are speculations that Union Minister JP Nadda can also be appointed as Himachal BJP president on the lines as Congress had appointed Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh as HPCC president while he was a union minister in the previous UPA government in the Centre. Political observers feel that BJP high command is looking future in young leader like Nadda who can play a long innings in Himachal BJP as age is catching up with senior leaders like Shanta Kumar and Prem Kumar Dhumal. How far is it true? One will have to wait for BJP high command’s decision.
Setback To Anurag Thakur
The opposition too faces certain problems in the run up to assembly elections. The BJP Member of Parliament from Hamirpur Anurag Thakur was removed by Supreme Court from the post of BCCI president for not implementing Lodha Committee recommendations. Earlier, he was also removed by the party from the post of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha president.
* The government is finding it difficult to complete its last year in office due to bad governance, mismanagement and corruption during present tenure
-Prem Kumar Dhumal Leader of Opposition
* Why Virbhadra Singh did not grant the status of winter capital to Dharamshala during his six terms in office as Chief Minister? Why he is spreading a canard in election year?
-Satpal Satti BJP State President