Congress in Himachal gears cadres for Panchayat Poll

Shimla: Gearing up party cadres for the upcoming Panchayat elections, Kaul Singh Thakur, state congress president said that issue about BJPs misrule were aplenty and the party would be issuing 3 lakh identity cards who would be instrumental in ensuring the victory of candidates backed by congress.

Holding the fort at Congress Bhawan, after CP Joshi, the union rural development minister, failed to turn up to address workers of Rajiv Gandhi Panchayati Raj Sangathan (RGPRS) due to cancellation of a flight, Kaul Singh said that the BJP government had curtailed the power of the Panchayati Raj institutions.

“A directive of the earlier congress government for lower officials of 14 departments being made accountable to Panchayats has been done away with,” he said.

The congress president counted doing away with micro-planning for Panchayats, not preparing project reports in congress dominated areas, neglecting primary and elementary education whereas steadily approving private universities even by resorting to issue ordinances for the purpose, stopping replacing of defunct CFL bulbs under a scheme that had been launched with much fanfare, mismanaging of the apple harvest operations in which famers are said to have suffered a loss of Rs 500 crores and substantially increasing transport, electricity and water rates in three years as some of the issues that would be highlighted in the polls.

Earlier, Vidya Stokes, congress legislative party leader, harped upon party unity to defeat the ruling party in the poll. She also alleged that reservation roaster of the election was deliberately delayed to suit BJP candidates.

Ranjit Singh Verma, chairman RGPRS, announced that the party would start its panchayat election campaign from 11th December by hold a state convention at Hamirpur – chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal’s home ground, which would be addressed by senior congressman Mani Shanker Aiyar.

He said that the BJP government was surviving on loans and the centrally funded MNREGA program. He held that BJP was responsible for depriving lakhs of people from contesting the elections.

“First the BJP government made a false promise about regularization of encroachments, and after the lakhs had filed affidavits about having encroached government lands, they had now been debarred by the courts from contesting the panchayat elections because of the illegality, said Verma.

Kuldeep Rathore termed the laying of a foundation stone for a large fruit and vegetable market in the apple belt as nothing more than false poll promise. “After the apple growers have suffered losses of hundred of crores, the government by now proposing to set up a large market was only adding salt to injury,” he said.

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