Saturday, December 23, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

No-trust motion against Dhumal rejected
Tribune News Service

SHIMLA, Dec 22 — The Himachal Assembly late tonight rejected the no-confidence motion moved by the Congress against the P.K. Dhumal government by voice vote after an 11-hour long debate.

Replying to the debate, Mr Dhumal rebutted all charges levelled by the Congress regarding financial mismanagement, irregularities in recruitments and corruption.

Earlier, initiating the debate, Mr Virbhadra Singh, Leader of the Congress Legislative Party, said the letter, in which the dissidents had levelled serious charges of corruption and irregularities against the government, could not be withdrawn as it had already become a public document. Moreover, the issues raised concerned the entire state. It was no ordinary letter but a virtual charge sheet against the Dhumal government by members of his own Cabinet.

He said many allegations were part of the charge sheet submitted by the Congress to the Governor, but Mr P.K. Dhumal, Chief Minister, without even bothering to go through the charges had described it as a ‘bogus’ document.

The allegations had been reiterated by his own ministers. He had tried to wriggle out of the situation by ensuring the removal of the tainted Public Works Minister, Mr Mohinder Singh, but not cared to order an inquiry into the matter. Such a serious matter could not be brushed aside and the government must order an indepth probe into the allegations to get to the truth.

Most lamentable was the fact that the Chief Minister had not removed the tainted minister to uphold values or to end corruption, but to save his government.

He said government had, in deed, tried to destabilise and undermine the position of elected representatives by encouraging extra-constitutional authorities and he could only sympathise with the rebel ministers.

He was severe in his criticism of the manner in which the Subordinate Services Selection Board and the State Public Service Commission had been functioning. He said blatant nepotism and favouritism in recruitment had placed the very impartiality of this constitutional body under a cloud.

Even the BJP ministers had alleged that candidates from only one district were being selected for government jobs. He mentioned the case of the Kangra Central Cooperative Bank while referring to the irregularities in appointments. This was objected to by Mr B.R. Mandyal, a BJP legislator, who is also the Chairman of the bank, on the ground that the matter was subjudiced.

The former Chief Minister alleged large-scale bungling in the purchase of medicines by the Health Department. He said formalities were given a go by on the pretext that medicines were being purchased from the Super Bazar. But it had later turned out that the purchases were made from private suppliers. Gross irregularities had also been committed in the purchase of medical equipment for the Tanda Medical College.

Mrs Vidya Stokes, a senior Congress leader, said the letter by the ministers urging Mr Dhumal to set things right was in itself a “certificate” on the performance of the coalition.

Mr Sukh Ram of the Himachal Vikas Congress blamed politicians for the rot that had set in the administration. He called for a healthy competition between the public and private sectors for speedy and economical execution of hydel power projects.

Mr Krishan Kapoor, Transport Minister, who was one of the signatories to the controversial letter, said it was an internal matter of the party which had been settled. He said the government stood like a rock and the Congress had brought the no-confidence motion against it only to deviate attention from its humiliating defeat in the recent panchayat poll.Back

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