Senior BJP leader and former chief minister, Prem Kumar Dhumal today welcomed the decision of the Election Commission to retain the dates of elections to the Himachal Pradesh Vidhan Sabha. Addressing media persons here today, he said the BJP was even ready for early polls in case the Congress party felt that it would not be feasible to hold elections in some of the reaches in the state during the month of December.
Dhumal said that the government request of postponing elections on the plea that the School Education Board had decided to hold examinations from 2 to 12 December only reflected the perturbed mindset of the senior congress leadership. He opined that examination dates can always be changed to suit the interests of the students and the people of the state.
The BJP leader said, on last Monday, the BJP had handed over a letter to the Election Commission, requesting the transfer of some Deputy Commissioners, Superintendents of Police and some other key officials in the state, who were working as stooges of the ruling party. He said the BJP was keeping an eye on officers who were over enthusiastically involved in preparing the Congress manifesto or working towards the postponement of elections.
Dhumal cautioned that since the executive was the backbone of the state, officers should work towards maintaining a clean image and help in conducting free and fair elections so that the people get a chance to elect the representatives of their choice.
Meanwhile, Bahujan Samaj party General Secretary and former minister Vijay Joshi has hailed the decision of the Election Commission, not to change the dates of Assembly elections that were declared on 10 October. Addressing media persons here, he charged Virbhadra Singh of double standards and of playing politics of convenience.
Countering Virbhadra Singh’s statement that the decision had curtailed the term of an MLA, duly elected in a democratic process, Joshi said ‘Virbhadra Singh should remember 23 January 1985 when he dissolved the Assembly 27 months in advance to take benefit of the ‘pro-congress wave’ after former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s assassination.
Joshi said it was Vir Bhadra Singh once again, who had taken polls, one year in advance by dissolving the house on 23 December, 1997. He questioned whether the terms of the MLAs during these two terms were not curtailed and whether those MLAs were not elected democratically. As regards the Congress plea that some of the higher reaches of the state would be inaccessible in December, Joshi reminded that Panchayat elections were also held in the month of December after every five years.