|Sunday, February 27, 2000,
BJP groupism to the fore
Karmapa's statement condemned
Plan to boost maize farming
Six stills seized
Minister suspended from HVC
SHIMLA, Feb 26 In a sudden development, the PWD Minister, Mr Mohinder Singh, was today suspended from the Himachal Vikas Congress (HVC) for his "anti-party activities".
His suspension was ordered by the HVC chief, Mr Sukh Ram, on the recommendation of the six-member disciplinary committee.
A party spokesman, Mr Sunder Lal Verma, said Mr Sukh Ram, signed the charge sheet against Mr Mohinder Singh before leaving for Delhi. The disciplinary committee was headed by Mr Vijay Joshi.
Mr Mohinder Singh is also vice-president of the HVC, an alliance partner of the ruling BJP in the state.
Mr Sukh Ram was apparently annoyed with Mr Mohinder Singh because of his repeated defiance of party decisions. The recent one was when Mr Mohinder Singh declared that he would campaign for the BJP candidate, Mr Rajeev Bindal, in the Solan constituency instead of the HVC nominee, Mr Haminder Thakur. However, the HVC candidate later withdrew from the contest.
Mr Sukh Ram was put in an embarrassing position when none of the ministers belonging to the HVC, including Mr Mohinder Singh, accompanied him to the office of the returning officer for filing the papers of Mr Haminder Thakur.
When contacted on telephone at Sarkaghat in Mandi district where Mr Mohinder Singh is on tour, he indicated that he might float a separate party.
BJP groupism to the fore
SHIMLA, Feb 26 The byelection for the Solan Assembly seat has once again brought the groupism in the ruling BJP to the fore with supporters of the Union Minister, Mr Shanta Kumar, claiming the victory of the party candidate, Mr Rajiv Bindal, as a win of the state government and not any personal achievement of the Chief Minister, Mr P.K. Dhumal.
The Shanta supporters were annoyed with Mr Dhumal over the denial of the party ticket to Mr Mohinder Nath Sofat, who represented the Solan constituency twice earlier.
A senior BJP leader and Shanta supporter, who did not want to be identified, told TNS that the victory of Mr Bindal should not be celebrated by Mr Dhumal as his personal achievement as it had been a general trend that the ruling party won byelections. With the Dhumal government still having three years in its present term, the electorate, particularly in the rural areas, did not want to offend the government which might lead to the slowing down of developmental activity.
Most of the Shanta supporters had remained away from the campaign for the Dhumal nominee and had been watching the electoral scene of the party rebel, Mr Netar Singh, who was also "hurt" over the denial of the ticket to Mr Sofat.
Mr Sofat had moved out of Solan and returned only on the polling day.
Interestingly, Mr Shanta Kumar also abstained from campaigning and did not even send any appeal to the electorate to vote for the BJP candidate.
His supporters were also upset with the BJP General Secretary, Mr Narendra Modi, who is learnt to have played a key role in the denial of the ticket to Mr Sofat. They allege that the party would be wrecked in case Mr Modi went ahead with humiliating the grassroots partymen.
Some of the Shanta men were equally annoyed with him as, they point out, that Mr Shanta Kumar hardly pressed for giving the ticket to Mr Sofat. They accuse him of having sacrificed the interests of his supporters and going out of Delhi when the ticket was being finalised.
Meanwhile, the Industries Minister, Mr Kishori Lal, and the Transport Minister, Mr K.K. Kapoor, have described the victory of Mr Bindal as an endorsement of the policies of the Dhumal government.
The Health Minister, Mr J.P. Nadda, and the Sports Minister, Mr Parveen Sharma, said the electorate of Solan had once again rejected the Congress in the area which the Congress leaders had been claiming to be their stronghold.
A senior BJP leader and former Speaker, Mr Radha Raman Shastri, said the people had voted for the policies and programmes of Mr Dhumal and had endorsed the speedy development programmes of the government.
Karmapa's statement condemned
SHIMLA, Feb 23 The Deb-Jong Nang-Ten Sung-Kyop Tsonpa (DNST), a Sikkim Buddhist culture protection organisation, has accused the Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorjee, who fled Tibet recently, of misusing Indian hospitality by making political statements.
Expressing concern over the statement made by the Karmapa during his first ever sermon, the DNST feared that India's accommodating approach could lead to its being utilised as a platform to raise political issues and called for circumspection.
It also regretted the likely confusion caused by the Chinese Lama's statement that "The Dalai Lama was the highest spiritual leader of the Buddhists" and pointed out the such a statement may have been made because of the Lama's mistaken assumption that political and spiritual authority were the same. It said there were several schools of Buddhism within and outside Tibet, and the Dalai Lama was the spiritual head of one Tibetan Buddhist school.
It said that in 1992, when the Dalai Lama approved the reincarnation of Dujom Rimpoche, the highest Nyingma Lama his choice was not accepted by the Nyingmapas. Instead, the reincarnation recognised by the Sangay Chadral Rimpoche, another revered Lama of the Nyingma school was unanimously accepted by followers of the sect worldwide. There were varied forms of Buddhist practices like Kagyu Nyingma Sakya and Bon, each of them free from the Gelug in spiritual matters.
In the recent past the present Dalai Lama had proposed to unite all schools of thought and create one state religion but the 16th Karmapa, along with leaders of other schools, opposed the move on the ground that each school had its spiritual right to exist.
In view of such misleading and confusing statements it was necessary that efforts be made for protection of the legacy of his holiness, the Gyalwa Karmapa, at Rumtek from falling into the hands of persons with vested interests.
Karmapa may visit Bhattu
DHARAMSALA, Feb 26 The 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorjee, is likely to pay a visit to the Sherabling monastery at Bhattu near Baijnath, next week.
It is reliably learnt that Tibetan officials have sought permission from the police for the Karmapa to be taken to Bhattu. A huge monastery has been set up by Tai Situ Rinpoche, a regent of the Kagyu sect, at Bhattu, 70 km from here.
It was for the first time yesterday that the 14-year-old Karmapa went outside Dharamsala. He visited Gopalpur, near Palampur and Chinmaya Tapovan. Eversince his arrival here on January 5, the Karmapa has been staying at the Gyuto monastery in Sidhbari. The Tibetan government has sought permission from the police to allow the Karmapa to pay a visit to the zoo at Gopalpur.
The only public appearance by the Karmapa so far was at a function on February 18 to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the enthronement of the Tibetan spiritual leader, Dalai Lama. Apart from this he has made about six trips to McLeodganj to meet Dalai Lama at his palace.
There has been speculation about the Karmapa being shifted to the Sherabling monastery at Bhattu. The monastery, here has been built by Tai Situ Rinpoche who was instrumental in the selection of Ogyen Trinley Dorjee as the 17th Karmapa. With the status of the Karmapa still undecided, it is felt it will take some time before he is shifted to Bhattu, permanently.
Eversince the arrival of the Karmapa here, preparations have been afoot at the Sherabling monastery to welcome him. Not only the road to the monastery is repaired, but welcome gates have been erected along the route.
On the throne inside the main monastery lies the portrait of the Karmapa before which the monks pray. Wall decorations have been redone.
Till the Karmapa can be permanently shifted to Bhattu, he remains at the Gyuto monastery along with his sister and five more who accompanied him here from Tibet. For the past many days he has been giving public audiences in the morning and afternoon.
Plan to boost maize farming
SHIMLA, Feb 26 As many as 78,000 hectares in Himachal Pradesh will be brought under the cultivation of maize under a special programme in the coming kharif season.
This was announced here today by the Agriculture Minister, Mr Vidya Sagar, while addressing officers of the Agriculture Department and the agriculture university.
He said the best farmers would be rewarded.
The minister reviewed the crop prospects, inputs supply position, implementation of the Rashtriya Krishi Bima Yojna and various other programmes launched by the department.
He asked the scientists of the agriculture university to test low weight power tillers so that these could be adopted in mid and high hills for the benefit of the farmers.
The university has so far tested one brand of power tiller which weighs 346 kg and costs around Rs 1 lakh.
The minister complimented the officers of the department for record seed distribution during the last season. He said the scientists and extension officers of the department were now going to the fields to solve the problem of farmers. The senior officers of the department were also asked to pay surprise visits to the field offices in other to bring efficiency in their working. A soil-testing programme may be taken up vigorously and from every village a minimum of five soil samples may be drawn in order to know the fertility status of that soil.
The Director of Agriculture, Mr J.C. Rana, said for 1999-2000, a target of 17.02 lakh tonnes of food grain production was fixed. The kharif crop prospects were good and it was expected that the target of 9.90 lakh tonnes shall be exceeded. The state harvested a bumper crop of maize. The rabi crop prospects were not good in the beginning but with the onset of the rain in the first fortnight of January, the situation may improve.
The food grain production targets for next year has been fixed at 17.47 lakh tonnes by the Planning Commission.
The department has launched 50 vegetable projects in various parts of the state so as to bring 500 hectares under vegetables. Under the RIDF, the department has received Rs 8.47 crore for 134 minor irrigation schemes from NABARD.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr Avay Shukla, Commissioner-cum-Secretary (Agriculture), stressed the need for review of all ongoing activities of the department and to prepare an action plan which may include restructuring of ongoing programmes and new initiatives to be taken by the department in the near future.
Six stills seized
DHARAMSALA, Feb 26 The Kangra police today seized six working stills and destroyed huge quantity of lahan, during a raid in the Channi Majra area, near Nurpur.
According to the SSP, Mr K.C. Sadyal, six cases have been registered under the Excise Act against the persons, who were caught running these stills to distil illicit liquor. A police team led by an ASP also raided the Thakur Dwara, Muladi and the adjoining areas where a large number of people are engaged in illicit liquor trade.
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