Shimla: Kicking off a two day election campaign for the Shimla municipal poll, union minister Virbhadra Singh hit out at the BJP state government saying that official machinery was being misused for the election.
Congress is attaching much importance to the municipal poll here as Virbhadra Singh hit the campaign trail a day after another central minister Anand Sharma marked his presence in support of the party nominees in the election.
Soon after arriving from Delhi, Virbhadra before media accused BJP of misusing official machinery for the municipal poll. “We have even lost trust in the state election commission as our complaints before it are not being addressed,” he said.
The union minister said that minister in the Prem Kumar Dhumal government, which included Mohinder Singh, Ravinder Ravi, Rajeev Bindal and Narinder Bragta being given charge of the municipal campaign, was fraught with apprehension of rigging the poll.
He said that BJP government had failed to utilize central urban renewal funds for the city development and Rs 20 crores funds for Shimla had been diverted to other townships.
Recalling the role played by a government factory that replaced wooden packaging for marketing fruits like apple with carton boxes, he said that it was a congress government initiative that helped to save 95,000 trees annually which used to be felled for the purpose.
He said that the high tech carton factory machinery had been sold for scrap by the Dhumal government, much to the dismay of the fruit growers.
Ridiculing the BJP mission repeat slogan for the assembly election later in the year, he said that the ruling party had deployed many resources for the civic poll but the governments’ popularity would truly be tested in the assembly election.
Pointing out the post retirement re-employment being handed out to chosen bureaucrats, the union minister said that Congress would win the assembly election and form the government.
“We expect all the bureaucrats who have been re-employed by the present government to resign the day a Congress government assumes office in the state”, he said.
Holding turf on the blame game about permitting the Jaypee cement and thermal plant, he said that it was for the Dhumal government to explain how a congress policy of not permitting thermal plants in the state was overturned.
The minister shot down a query about the sharp rise in petrol prices by pointing out the increase in crude import bill. “Its not just the central excise duty, the states can reduce VAT to absorb some of the price rise shock,” he said.
The minister dismissed the issue of BJP having released the Congress charge sheet, by saying that he was not member of the committee that framed it in the first place.
Retorting to Anand Sharma remark on Wednesday that it did not behove for a union minister to campaign for municipal poll, Virbhadra responded that he held no ego about it and remained a congress worker first, then an MP and then a minister in the UPA government.