With eye on elections, Virbhadra leveling false charges – Himachal Ministers

Shimla: Senior minister Gulab Singh Thakur and Ravinder Ravi have asked union steel minister Virbhadra Singh to clean over land mafia allegations leveled saying the congressman was using double standards to politicize the issue, when faced with two by-elections in the state.

In a communiqué the duo state that it did not behove of a central minister to meddle with making politically motivated false statements with ulterior motives.

Holding successive congress governments headed by Virbhadra Singh liable for carrying out dilutions in the stringent land laws of the state, Thakur and Ravi say, “those non-agriculturists who were granted relaxation under section 118 of HP Land Reforms and Tenancy Act, 1972 to purchase land by congress governments become friends of Himachal and keeping the development needs of the state in mind, if our government grants permission then they are termed as ‘land mafia’.

The ministers state that holding out a threat about reviewing all land deals, should a congress government come to power in the next elections, was harming investors confidence and proving detrimental towards development.

They further say that the mischievous statements being made by the former chief minister were only an attempt to mislead the people as Virbhadra Singh’s wife Pratibha Singh was a candidate in the fray for the congress ticket from Rohru.

The ministers pointed out that amendments carried out in the land laws were done in 1976, 1988, 1995 & 1997 were all done under congress regimes, with three of them being done when Virbhadra was chief minister.

In an era of globalization, land for industries and projects would have to be provided for the larger interest of the state, they say.

Taking offence to allegations about BJP leaders and their kin’s involvement in land deals and in setting up private universities, the duo asked the union minister to name the persons whom he is trying indicate.

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