Himachal Congress cries foul over panchayat election code violations

Shimla: Facing a crucial election to the Panchayati Raj Institutions, congress has termed the holding of a T20 Cricket Tournament, raising of daily wages in the unorganized sector and release of payments to PTA teachers employed in government schools as violations of the election code of conduct in force.

Congress spokesman, Kuldeep Rathore, told reporters here that the party had written to the state election commissioner and pointed out the violations having taken place, which were apparent attempts to influence public opinion ahead of the panchayat and local urban bodies poll.

“Holding of a cricket tournament, whenever there is an important election to take place in the state is not a coincidence, said Rathore.

He mentioned that a conducting of a large cricket tournament now when there is a panchayat election going on and on an earlier occasion holding a T-20 cricket tournament when a Lok Sabha election was going on was much more than a coincidence. “Cricket is being deliberately used to influence voters,” said Rathore.

The congressman said that releasing of Rs 3 Crore towards PTA teachers pay, something which the government had withheld for such a long time on the grounds that the teachers appointments were not justified, was a blatant attempt at appeasement.

The state election commission needs to look into what was the compulsion for the government to issue an wage hike notification on November 29, when elections had been announce and code of conduct had come into effect, he said.

Responding to a query, Rathore said that the chief minister by threatening to issue legal notices to CLP leader Vidya Stokes and state congress president Kaul Singh Thakur, over allegations of violations to section 118 of HP Land Laws Act taking place, was attempting to suppress the opposition’s voice.

With the number of properties being bought by non-Himachali’s at exorbitant rates on the rise, the congress party demands that the government should intervene and fix a quota in all upcoming housing projects, including that of HIMUDA for resident Himachal’s, said the party spokesman.

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