|Thursday, January 13, 2000,
Solan seat: a test for partners
3 die of asphyxia
Solan seat: a test for
SOLAN, Jan 12 The byelection for the Solan Assembly seat is an acid test for the ruling BJP-Himachal Vikas Congress (HVC) coalition.
Both the partners are adamant to field their respective candidates for the seat. Both the BJP and the HVC have introduced their respective candidates.
The HVC has announced that Mr Hemendera Thakur will be the party candidate. The HVC adopted a resolution to this effect during its recent meeting of office-bearers.
A section of the BJP is keen on fielding Mr Mohinder Nath Sofat, a former minister and a confidant of Mr Shanta Kumar. The other section has reportedly mooted the candidature of Mr Virender Kashyap, Chairman of the marketing board and Mr Rajiv Bindal, president of the local municipal committee. Mr Sofat has larger acceptability in the party as the Assembly seat fell vacant because of his petition.
The Congress is likely to field Ms Krishna Mohini, who was recently unseated from the Assembly by a Supreme Court order. The byelection is being held because of her being unseated.
The HVC is going ahead with the formalities for fielding its candidate and a meeting of the party's parliamentary board to clear Mr Hemendera Thakur's candidature was expected to be held at Delhi.
The HVC leadership has pointed out that the party had been allowed to contest the election for only the Assembly seat of Lahaul-Spiti and the BJP all the four seats.
A senior HVC leader made it clear that the party will contest the election in a "friendly" manner even if the BJP fielded its candidate. The PWD Minister, Mr Mohinder Singh, was also reportedly backing HVC nominee Hemendera Thakur.
It is believed that the BJP was not in a mood to let the opportunity of freeing itself from the clutches the HVC chief, Mr Sukh Ram. On the other hand the HVC leadership was hopeful of improving its tally and continue with its arm-tiwisting ways.
Mr Dhumal was, however, hopeful that the issue will be solved through mutual dialogue with the HVC leadership before filing of nominations.
Certain BJP leaders alleged that Mr Sukh Ram's claim for the seat was unjust as Mr Dhumal had spared a Rajya Sabha seat for his son, Mr Anil Sharma and also allowed the HVC to successfully contest the Shimla Lok Sabha seat in the recent elections.
Congressmen pointed out that Mr Hemendera Thakur bagged over 9,000 votes in the last Assembly election. He had contested as an independent and had indirect support of certain Congress leaders but the situation has changed now.
Karan flays ex-CM, Sat Mahajan
SHIMLA, Jan 12 Mr Karan Singh, Minister of State for Primary Education, has criticised the joint statement made by Mr Virbhadra Singh, former Chief Minister and Mr Sat Mahajan, president of the Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee, alleging that the government had failed to check corruption.
In a statement issued here yesterday he termed the charges as totally false, baseless and an outburst of frustration of Congress leaders who had been rejected by the people of the state during elections.
Referring to allegation of bitumen emulsion purchase Mr Karan Singh said that the state government had already ordered a vigilance inquiry and whosoever found guilty would be punished. Where is the need of a CBI inquiry when the state Vigilance Department was proceeding in the matter, he asked?
He said that Congress government during its tenure did nothing for the execution of hydel power projects and now when the present government had made significant headway in this regard, the Congress leaders were getting upset. He said that the foundation stone of 2051 MW Parbati project by Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee was a new milestone in the history of the state which would provide direct and indirect employment opportunities to lakhs of people.
Mr Karan Singh challenged the Congress leaders to prove the allegation of political bias in the selection of families under IRDP and vindictive transfers of 1.25 lakh employees.
Regarding the abolition
of three posts of Divisional Commissioner, Mr Karan Singh
said that the decision was taken in the larger public
interest keeping in view the convenience and early
disposal of cases.
Intelligence team on way to
DHARAMSALA, Jan 12 A high-level intelligence team is arriving here tomorrow to interrogate the Maulvi, who has been arrested on charges of distributing recorded speeches of Maulana Masood Azhar.
The arrest of Maulvi Muhammad Oeshi Ahmed and another Bihari labourer Muhammad Zamir, has rung alarm bells, as this indicates that Himachal figures prominently on the list of J and K militants. The Maulvi has been circulating audio cassettes, containing speeches of the freed militant, Maulana Masood Azhar, in the area.
The central intelligence team will have officials from the RAW, Intelligence Bureau and the Central Bureau of Investigation. They are coming here to interrogate the arrested Maulvi and probe the other facts of the case.
The fact that the Maulvi
was functioning from the Army Mosque in the Yol
Cantonment, makes the issue all the more sensitive. Top
intelligence agencies feel that such activities right
from the cantonment area, could prove to be very
damaging. In the recent past concern had been expressed
over the increasing number of madrasas in the districts
of Kangra, Chamba, Una and their activities. It is learnt
that after frequent checks of people arriving here from
outside by the police has resulted in the closure of
certain madrasas in Kangra district. The Army too had
warned the local police and the intelligence agencies on
the mushrooming of so many madrasas in the area.
Chief Engineer's contradiction
MANDI, Jan 12 Mr P.D. Sharma, Chief Engineer Irrigation and Public Health, today contradicted a news item appearing in The Tribune from Sundernagar on January 9 at page 15 "that the office of the Executive Engineer, I&PH, Sundernagar, has made the payment of Rs 15 lakh to a contractor without passing the bill...."
He said a contract of Rs 33.88 lakh had been awarded to Mr Sanjay Kumar for laying sewerage line. Under the rules the contractor was entitled to secure an advance of 75 per cent which comes to Rs 25.41 lakh. Of this Rs 15 lakh was given to him vide cheque No. 972867 dated 18.12.99 after duly passing the bill and complying with formalities.
He explained that a
tender notice had been published in several English and
Hindi newspapers on May 4, 1999. Of the 11 contractors
the rate quoted by Mr Sanjay Kumar were the lowest and he
was awarded the contract. Mr Pravin Kumar was the legal
representative of the contractor Mr Sanjay Kumar.
3 die of asphyxia
MANALI, Jan 12 Three persons working in a local restaurant died of asphyxia caused by coal smoke here. The bodies were found in a room where they had kept an angeethi.
The deceased have been
identified as Vijay (38) a cook, son of Jiv Nath,
resident of Telga village in Shimla district, Tenzin (27)
also a cooks son of Sayla Tenzin, a Nepali national
and Sita Ram Pandey (23), a waiter, son of Khalak Prasad
Pandey, also a resident of Nepal.
Employees stage dharna
SHIMLA, Jan 12 Members of the Shimla Division Class III and IV Employees Association staged a dharna in protest against the decision of the government to wind up all the three offices of divisional commissioners in the state here today.
Terming the decision as arbitrary and against the interests of the people, the association alleged that those hailing it did not have adequate knowledge about revenue matters. They were welcoming the decision just to please the government.
It urged political parties, advocates and intellectuals to come under one banner to pressurise the government to reverse the "undemocratic" decision.
Katwal sworn in SSSB Chairman
SHIMLA, Jan 12 Mr A.K. Goswami, Chief Secretary, administered the oath of office and secrecy to Mr S.M. Katwal as Chairman of the Himachal Pradesh Subordinate Services Selection Board at a simple ceremony here today.
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