Land sale, corruption to become election issues – Himachal Congress

Shimla: To prepare congress for election mode in the state, the party spelled out issues like corruption, sale of land in contravention of state laws, rising unemployment and failure of BJP to address its manifesto that would be highlighted in days ahead through mass campaigns.

Speaking to the media after holding a four hour brainstorming session of part workers which included union ministers Anand Sharma, Virbhadra Singh, part president Kaul Singh Thakur and legislative party leader Vidya Stokes, party incharge for Himachal Choudhary Virendra Singh said congress had evolved a strategy about launching mass movements for ousting the BJP government.

He said the party was preparing a charge sheet, which after being finalized would be submitted to the President of India and congress would demand a CBI inquiry into the charges.

He said corruption had emerged as the biggest issue and congress legislators would aggressively agitate about the various acts of omission and commission during the coming monsoon session of the Vidhan Sabha.

“A mass mobilization program would include geharo of the Vidhan Sabha during the forthcoming session,” he added.

Farmers’ issues like sale of land, especially that of small farmers in violation of section 118 of state laws and violations of forest act would be highlighted.

A larger session of state congress leaders would be convened at Palampur in June to finalize the party’s 2012 election strategy, said Singh.

The party incharge for the state said that factionalism in the state unit did not exist and to prove it all the senior leaders would be seen together at road shows that intend to conduct in the coming days.

About the delay in announcing the state executive committee even though the party internal elections concluded over 6 months ago, Virendra Singh said the new committee would be announced within 20 days.

Responding to a query about the steep hike in petrol announced after concluding of assembly elections to five states, he denied that it was in anyway related to the elections.

Justifying the hike, he said that internationally oil prices had increased from US $ 47 a barrel to $ 127 a barrel and the hike imposed was less than 50 percent of what it otherwise ought to be.

Factionalism to the fore

Differences between the Virbhadra Singh and Kaul Singh faction surfaced before party incharge Virendra Singh at the closed door meeting of senior congress leaders, which included sitting and former legislator, party insiders disclosed.

While Virbhadra Singh in said to have pointed out the soft stance of the party towards the BJP government in the state, Kaul Singh is reported to have retorted with charging the rival faction of targeting among party cadres and through the media.

Earlier when Anand Sharma arrived at the congress office for the meeting, several congressmen are said to have started shouting slogans in favour of Virbhadra Singh.

The crowd was only pacified after Virendra Singh let the congress workers know that it was only a meeting of party leaders and the chief ministerial candidate was not being announced.

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