Himachal Elections 2017: Himachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly elections will be held in late 2017 to elect the 68 members. Here’s a buildup to Himachal elections.
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Anil Sharma quits Congress and joins BJP; says Father’s humiliation was intolerable
Animal husbandry minister Anil Sharma inherited politics from his father, former Union minister Sukh Ram, a reckoning force in Himachal politics in 1990s. Sukh Ram was instrumental in the formation of a coalition government with the BJP after he quit Congress in 1998 and formed the Himachal Vikas Congress (HVC) winning five seats in the state assembly. Elected to the Assembly in 1993 for the first time from his father’s assembly segment, Mandi, Anil Sharma kicked up a storm in the Congress as he switched over to BJP ahead of polls. Sharma has accused the Congress of insulting his father, thus forcing him to quit the party.
Why did you quit Congress?
It was not an instant decision. I was humiliated and sidelined in the party for four and half years. My father, a veteran leader, was also insulted during Rahul Gandhi’s recent rally at Mandi, when he was barred from the stage.
You say the party sidelined you. But you were a minister in the government.
See I won the assembly elections in 2012 by a handsome margin but chief minister Virbhadra Singh ignored my seniority and did not offer me ministerial birth. I was inducted only after AICC president Sonia Gandhi intervened. But even after that the humiliation did not stop.
Why you quit right before the assembly polls?
I did not think of quitting until recently, when I found out that my name was missing in the list of members who were part of the state’s campaign committee even as all other cabinet ministers were on the panel. State party chief Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu told me that my name was initially on the list but was later deleted for unknown reasons. I take it as an insult.
Does your father support you in the decision?
Definitely, CM Virbhadra Singh insulted my father Sukh Ram during a party workers’ meet, in front of party’s Himachal in-charge Sushil Kumar Shinde. During Rahul Gandhi’s Mandi rally earlier this month, first they invited him and then when he reached the venue, he was not allowed to share the dias with the leader on Virbhadra’s behest. He had travelled from Delhi to Mandi despite poor health. This humiliation was intolerable.
Will you be comfortable with the BJP after serving the Congress for so many years?
My father formed the HVC when he was expelled from the Congress. He entered into a post poll alliance with the BJP and was instrumental in formation of a coalition government that completed a full five-year term. So, I have already worked with the BJP. Moreover, I feel that I will be able to complete the development projects in my assembly segment which I started in the current term, but could not complete due to the hurdles created by chief minister Virbhadra Singh.
Or the shift is just for political survival as Congress is seeing a downfall?
My family has been in politics for over six decades. So there was no such crisis. My decision was propelled because of the continuous insult.
Sourced from Hindustan Times
CPI(M) to fight on 30 Assembly seats
The Communist Party of India (Marxist) will field candidates on 30 out of the 68 assembly seats. The state unit of the CPI(M) had on October 9 released a list of 14 candidates for the elections. The list included names of the former mayor of Shimla Municipal Corporation Sanjay Chauhan and Singha, a former MLA.
The party has also fielded Kuldeep Singh Tanwar from Kusumti Assembly seat, Vivek Kashyap from Rampur, Lokendra Kumar from Ani, Vishwanath Sharma from Nahan, Munish Sharma from Sarkaghat, Bhupinder Singh from Dharampur, Kunal Bharadwaj from Jogindernagar and Ajay Bhatti from Solan.
Other candidates chosen by the CPI(M) included Anil Mankotia from Hamirpur Assembly seat, Joginder Kumar from Sujanpur, Sudarshan from Lahaul and Spiti and Bittoo Verma from Palampur.
Sourced from The Indian Express
Himachal elections on November 9; results by December 18
The assembly polls in Himachal Pradesh will be held in a single phase on November 9 and the results will be declared on December 18, the Election Commission announced on Thursday. EC, however, withheld the announcement of poll dates for Gujarat, even as the term of state assembly ends on January 22.
Sourced from Economic Times
Virbhadra Singh dares BJP to name their candidate
The BJP has still not projected any leader for the polls though the speculation is rife that the choice is between two time CM Prem Kumar Dhumal and union Health Minister J P Nadda. “ The ball is in the BJP ‘s court to name its chief Ministerial candidate. People should know before the poll as what kind of leaders the BJP wants to project in the state or who is going to be their leader?”
Sourced from Indian Express
Virbhadra CM Choice; Modi’s Gujarat model a failure: Rahul Gandhi
“Virbhadra Singhji, you became CM six times. You will become CM for the seventh time too and the entire Congress party stands behind you,” said Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi while addressing a rally.
Comparing Gujarat’s development model with that of Himachal, Rahul claimed that under Virbhadra’s leadership, the state had witnessed development in all sectors, be it health, education or infrastructure. “During the five-year Congress regime, 70,000 jobs have been provided in the government sector while in Gujarat a mere 10,000 jobs have been created. The Himachal Government is providing Rs 1,000 as unemployment allowance. There is no such provision in Gujarat. “Four medical colleges, 1,500 government schools and 55 colleges have been opened. In Modi’s Gujarat, only big industrialists are being benefited,” Rahul said, urging the people to vote the Congress back to power.
Sourced from The Tribune
Congress pushed Himachal 10 years back: Dhumal
Former Himachal Pradesh chief minister and Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly Prem Kumar Dhumal today accused the Virbhadra Singh-led Congress government in the state of pushing it 10 years back.
“Himachal was on top five years ago, but due to the Congress’ misrule over the last five years, it has slipped to the 17th position (in the country) in terms of industrial growth. As regards law-and-order, it is rated among the worst states,” he said in a statement.
“The Congress government has pushed the state 10 years back,” Dhumal said, adding that it would be remembered as the worst regime Himachal had ever had and for the mafia raj.
The Virbhadra Singh government had turned the ‘Dev Bhumi’ to ‘Aparadh Bhumi’ (land of gods to land of crimes) by shielding the criminals and it was a matter of shame that the chief minister and some of his cabinet colleagues were facing corruption charges, he said.
Dhumal claimed that the Congress government had lost the trust of the people who, he said, would throw it out in the next state Assembly polls, due later this year.
Modi Visit, Calls Congress a ‘Zamanati Sarkar‘
Addressing a public meeting after laying the foundation of a Rs 1,350 crore 750-bed AIIMS hospital in Bilaspur, a unit of SAIL steel plant and an IIIT building in the state, he said, “Everything here is on bail. The party (Congress) is on bail, the government is on bail.”
“This is a ‘zamanati sarkar’. When some people of Congress came to meet me, I told them the Chief Minister and his entire family is out on bail, and why don’t you change the Chief Minister,” Modi said referring to Virbhadra Singh, who is facing cases of disproportionate property and is out on bail.
“Then the Congress people replied saying that our entire party is on bail, our (Congress) President is facing corruption charges.”
Taking a dig at the Congress leadership, Modi went on to add, “Sonia Gandhi is out on bail in the National Herald case, similarly ‘yuvraaj’ (prince) is out on bail in the National Herald case. Everything is on bail — the party, its leaders and its government are out on bail.”
“Now tell me, don’t do we need to oust this government which is out on bail?” he asked the crowd which cheered with slogans of “Jai Shri Ram”.
“Virbhadra Singh to lead”, Shinde
Congress would fight the upcoming elections under a collective leadership and would not announce a CM candidate, AICC general secretary and in-charge of the party affairs in Himachal Pradesh Sushil Kumar Shinde today said the coming Assembly elections would be fought under Virbhadra Singh’s leadership. Addressing a public gathering here as part of his visit to Una, Kutlehar and Chintpurni Assembly segments, he praised the Chief Minister for his acumen and pace of development in the state.Making veiled references, Shinde said some people had not understood Virbhadra properly, adding that he (Shinde) was acquainted with Virbhadra for the past many decades. Though Virbhadra got angry at times, he was a good human being at heart.
Sourced from The Tribune
PM Narendra Modi’s graph falling fast, says CM Virbhadra Singh
RESUMING HIS extensive touring of districts to launch new projects ahead of the Assembly polls, Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh Sunday chose to target Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP. He said, “Modi‘s graph is falling fast and many of his decisions, whether it is demonetisation or GST, have badly hit the common man and also the business community.”
The CM said that while he respects the Prime Minister as an individual, Modi “should not try dividing the people on social and other issues.”
“Today, the PM is facing stiff opposition in Gujarat itself and his graph is fast declining. The GST issue has confused the common man and the business community in particular. BJP leaders of the country believe that the Prime Minister is all in all, ‘forgetting’ that former finance minister Yashwant Sinha has blamed Modi government for derailing the economy” he said.
The Chief Minister also alleged that the Centre was “befooling the youth in the name of employment.” Virbhadra said demonetisation was a “disastrous step” taken in haste without taking people into confidence.
BJP launches series of Whatsapp video to encircle state government
The Himachal Pradesh BJP started the second phase of the Himachal Mange Hisaab campaign by releasing two video series titled Vidhayak Ji Jawab Do (Mr. MLA please Answer) and Main Hoon Himachal (I am Himachal) respectively.
Jawab Do series will release 36 videos, with the voters seeking accountability from the 36 Congress MLAs of the state and reminding them of their “unfulfilled” promises.
BJP veteran leader and Union Minister J.P Nadda said that 7,000 WhatsApp groups had been created by the BJP IT cell of Himachal Pradesh and anyone could give a missed call on 7574068068 to receive the links of the videos through text messages.
PM to lay foundation stone of AIIMS in Bilaspur. Just in time, the visit?
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lay foundation stone of an All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) hospital in Himachal Pradesh’s Bilaspur on October 3.
Election Commission Chooses Visually-Impaired Woman As ‘Youth Icon’ For Himachal Pradesh Polls
The Election Commission of India has chosen a 22-year-old visually-impaired woman from Himachal Pradesh as the ‘youth icon’ for the upcoming state Assembly polls.
Ajay Srivastav, nodal officer for matters relating to disabilities in the Himachal Pradesh University (HPU), said that he has received an information in this regard from the EC. Muskan, who is pursuing a post graduate course in music from the HPU, would motivate the youth to take part in the election process and exercise their franchise, he said.
It is for the first time that a visually-impaired person from the state has been picked up as an icon face by the EC to spread awareness about the democratic process and importance of vote.
Hailing from remote Chirgaon area in Rohru subdivision of Shimla district, Muskan has been a meritorious student throughout and was given a laptop by the government for coming in merit in Class 12 examinations under a scheme of the government. Runner up of ‘Voice of Himachal’ (junior category), Muskan has been the winner of the HPU youth festival twice and has also been an ace performer during the summer festival.
Sourced from NDTV.com
CM on inauguration spree
Virbhadra Singh on Saturday laid foundation stones of developmental projects worth around Rs 34 crores in Sundernagar and Nachanareas of Mandi. He also laid the foundation stones of 10 degree colleges to be set up across the hill state through videoconferencing.
Besides this, Virbhadra inaugurated motorable bridge over Satluj river; building of Government Degree College at Dehar; bridge over Khandel-Nandi road and Sianj bridge on Sianj-Bara road at Khyod. The estimated costs of the projects are Rs 20.29 crore, Rs 5 crore, Rs 1.49 crore, Rs 1.55 crore, respectively. He also laid the foundations stone of additional accommodation of Government Senior Secondary School Jahal at Khyod, which is estimated to be around Rs 36.50 lakh.
Sourced from Times of India
Amit Shah names CM as ‘Bhrashtachar wala mukhyamantri’
Addressing a rally in Kangra, Amit Shah targeted chief minister Virbhadra Singh and said that he is not resigning and sticking to the CM’s chair holding badges of corruption on his chest.
“The reputation of the state has been severely damaged due to corruption by the Congress government,” he said.
“The BJP gave two CMs — PK Dhumal and Shanta Kumar – to the state. Shanta was called ‘Paani wala mukhyamantri’ (CM who provided water) and Dhumal was ‘Sadak wala mukhyamantri’ (CM who built roads). But Virbhadra has started unprecedented trend of not resigning even after allegations of corruptions,” said Shah and added that Singh is called ‘Bhrashtachar wala mukhyamantri’ (chief minister known for corruption) and wears this as badge of honor,” Shah said.
Sourced from Times of India
“CM has no time for the state”, Union law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad
Union law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, who was in Shimla on Monday for the BJP’s `Hisab Mange Himachal’ campaign, said Himachal Pradesh was the only state in the country where the government was on “bail”. Accusing chief minister Virbhadra Singh of having no time for the state as he was busy fighting cases against him in courts, he said while the “agent” was is in jail, the “principal” was out on bail.
Sourced from Times of India
Banking on Social Media – Who gets more Likes on Facebook?
Political parties have taken poll campaign to social media platforms by making optimum use of social networking applications and sites like Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter. The sitting MLAs and incumbent ministers are not the only ones but even the first time ticket seekers are staking claims by posting the pictures and videos of their public meetings.
In order to eke out a win in the fierce battle that is days ahead, BJP and Congress election handling teams have turned up the heat by setting up IT cells in control rooms to handle the social media accounts. Sources said that BJP has formed a team of 15 volunteers to handle its IT Cell at state party office. BJP has also appointed one convener (IT) each in the 7,479 booths across the state to ensure maximum reach, sources added.
Congress too has geared up its social media team and on Sunday, the party organized a workshop for district and block level social media in charges to inform them so as to how to spearhead campaign for coming days. In this workshop, state Congress president Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu was also present.
Sourced from: Times of India
VVPAT in Gujarat and Himachal votes, but no paper vote tallying
While the Election Commission will hold the upcoming assembly polls in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh fully with voter-verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) machines, there will be no mandatory counting of paper trail in a designated percentage of polling stations in the two states.
Sourced from: Times of India
INC thinking of their positioning – wants to be People’s Party
Setting a new precedent aimed at bringing about transparency and accountability, the Congress will, for the first time, invite applications for Assembly ticket on a prescribed proforma which, besides other details, will seek information about the persons loyalty towards the party and entire record of legal cases, if any.
Sourced from: Tribune News Service
Promises – Centre will give Rs 1.25L cr to Himachal, claims Dhumal
While saying that the UPA government has provided only Rs 20,000 crore, leader of opposition Prem Kumar Dhumal claimed that the BJP led NDA government at Centre would provide Rs 1.25 lakh crore to the hill state. He said that the UPA government has taken special state status of Himachal Pradesh but after coming to power, PM Narendra Modi had restored it.
Sourced from: Times of India
Who will new entrants vote for?
Over 78,000 new voters have been registered in revised electoral rolls in Himachal Pradesh ahead of assembly polls, the election commission said.
Source: Press trust of India
Himachal CM, “BJP countering the development by involving in character assassination”
Lashing out at the BJP, Himachal Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh on Friday said that the propaganda being aired by the BJP is nothing more than a bundle of lies. “Though a lot is being spent on my court cases as falsely framed by the BJP, I am a man who will not be belittled by their villainous moves. It is true that I am ‘tired’ but will fight to the nefarious designs of the BJP and oppose their every move till the end,” said the Chief Minister while addressing a public meeting at Amb in district Una.
He said that now, when elections are around the corner, the BJP is countering the development by involving in character assassination. Their modus operandi is to attack the leader of the Congress party whom they fear the most, but they are forgetting that Congress is a party of soldiers and there is no dearth of good leaders in the party, he said.
Sourced from Daily Pioneer
More questions asked! “Law and order failing, Himachal unsafe for women”
BJP Mahila Morcha national president Vijaya Rahatkar today said the failure of the Congress regime in maintaining law and order in Himachal had made the hill state unsafe for women and tourists, especially after the Kotkhai rape-murder case.
Addressing a press conference here today, Rahatkar said it was very unfortunate that Himachal which was considered a safe state was today being considered unsafe for women. “Tourism is the main source of livelihood for the people of the state and if visitors start feeling unsafe here, then tourism will take a beating,” she remarked.
“It is unfortunate that the police which is meant to ensure safety of the people, are themselves in the dock for shielding the real culprits in the Kotkhai case,” she alleged. She added it was because of this reason the people had lost faith in the police and a special investigation team (SIT) was entrusted with the task of holding a fair probe in the jail.
Sourced from Tribune News Service
Gurus are not happy, call CM “anti-teacher”
The Himachal Government Teachers Union (HGTU) has raised the banner of revolt against the Chief Minister ahead of the Assembly polls and termed him anti-teacher. “Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh is holding the charge of elementary, secondary and higher education but thinks it below his dignity to talk to the union which represents about 60,000 teachers,” said president, HGTU, Virender Chauhan, talking to mediapersons here today.
Sourced from Tribune News Service
Modi the mascot
“We will be going to the polls keeping Modiji as the centre of our campaign. He is the biggest factor in our favour,” BJP state party president Satpal Singh Satti said.
This is not the first time the BJP is going into an Assembly election banking on Modi – it has used this approach to success in states like Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, and Haryana.
Sourced from The Print
Cong high command gets a thrashing from CM
Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh made a veiled attack on the Congress high command as he said the party was “going in a different direction” from its earlier policies and that “pick and choose” approach would finish its good culture.
“Earlier, right from block level upto the All India Congress Working Committee (AICC), members were elected. But, now the party is going in a different direction and even the block Congress members are being nominated from PCC office,” Singh said addressing a public meeting at Nirmand in Kullu district.
“The Congress party is not a party of businessmen but belongs to those who made sacrifices for the Independence of the country. My suggestion to the AICC as well as to Pradesh Congress Committees (PCCs) is that there is a need for change in thinking and working,” the senior party leader said.
He said “if any member is to be given preference, he should be elected on the basis of his dedicated services for the party right from block level to district Congress committees.”
Contractors get a warning, and political angle!
Himachal Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh on Sunday directed the Public Works authorities to complete the major works within a stipulated time-period.
He said that the contractor, who has been awarded the job, must ensure to complete it in a given period and if there were delay for months, it would be ensured that he was blacklisted for five years.
Any delays could not be tolerated as it escalate the cost of the projects and directly lead to waste of the public money, said Virbhadra Singh while addressing a public meeting at Nirmand in district Kullu.
The Chief Minister listed the strides made by the state in field of education, adding that he was ready to accept the criticism of opposition of opening the schools and colleges. “I want to ensure that all the children of the state are well qualified and well educated so that they can contribute towards Nation building”, said Virbhadra Singh.
He refuted the allegations of BJP that the government was on foundation stone laying spree all over the state without adequate budget. Rubbishing these allegations, he said there was enough budget in the government coffers to complete the schemes and only after due consideration and ensuring funds available, the foundation stones were being laid for development of all areas and welfare of the people.
Sourced from The Pioneer
Shinde positive of ‘Mission Repeat’
The AICC general secretary and in-charge of party affairs for Himachal Pradesh Sushil Kumar Shinde has predicted the of Congress in the state. Shinde was addressing party leaders at Banikhet in Chamba district on Friday. He was here to gather inputs about the probables. Shinde appealed to the leaders and workers to work unitedly in a team spirit, making the ‘mission repeat’ of the party successful. A lot of development works had been carried out by the ruling Congress government and several schemes had been implemented for the livelihood and uplift of the people, Shinde said. OC
Sourced from The Tribune
“I am always at Himachal’s service” CM
“There is no problem in that, but where is the solution to issues I have been raising? My point is that the party should take a firm stand and tell me my role. I have told Sonia ji that I will not show my back and lead the Congress from the front. Congress will repeat its government. I have served the state to the best of my ability and remained a dedicated Congress worker till now. I am not going anywhere. I will keep serving the people even if the party does not find me worth leading the Congress to the poll.” said CM after he was summoned to Delhi by Rahul Gandhi after his meeting with PCC president, but the CM could not go, apparently because his chopper developed a snag.
No change of guard in Himachal Pradesh, Sukhu will remain the chief
The Congress leadership is unlikely to replace Himachal Pradesh unit president Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu despite pressure from CM Virbhadra Singh, who has threatened to not contest the polls. Sources said assembly elections in Himachal were due in November-December and a new appointee will hardly get time to settle. Sukhu, with general secretary Sushil Kumar Shinde, met Gandhi on Thursday and handed him a letter signed by district presidents seeking status quo on organisational changes, at least till polls.