Tuesday, January 2, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Mohinder Singh joins LJP
Pledges issue-based support to HP Govt

From R. Suryamurthy
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, Jan 1 — A former Public Works Department Minister in Himachal Pradesh, Mr Mohinder Singh Thakur, today joined the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), the new political outfit floated by the Union Communications Minister, Mr Ram Vilas Paswan. Mr Mohinder Singh said the party would extend issue-based support to the Himachal Government.

“The LJP would extend support to the Prem Kumar Dhumal-led Himachal Government on an issue-to-issue basis,” Mr Mohinder Singh, who was expelled from the Himachal Vikas Congress, told The Tribune here this evening.

Stating the reasons for joining the newly formed LJP, the former PWD minister said he was toying with the idea of a regional party but decided to join the party led by Mr Paswan as it offered him a better opportunity to serve the people of the hill state.

Mr Mohinder Singh, who has been appointed president of the Himachal unit of the LJP said: “My first task will be to establish a base for the LJP. Eight former MLAs have joined the new party with me and several leaders at the local level have also joined the LJP.”

“In the coming days, other HVC leaders would join the LJP,” he asserted.

Sources said the former PWD minister decided to join the LJP after the Election Commission reportedly rejected the demand of the HVP to be recognised as a regional party.

The HVC had filed a caveat with the commission urging it not to register the HVP as a regional party as its name was quite similar to the HVC and could confuse the electorate during the polling.

Mr Mohinder Singh had formed the HVP after he was expelled from the HVC in April last.

The President of the HVC, Mr Sukh Ram, had indicated that Mr Mohinder Singh would be welcomed to the party if he worked in the interests of the party. Mr Sukh Ram had also indicated that the former PWD minister could also be re-inducted into the state Cabinet at a later stage.

The united HVC had emerged as a third force in Himachal by securing 12 per cent of the votes in the 1998 Assembly elections. The party also won the Shimla parliamentary seat.

Earlier in the day, the LJP released its party manifesto which calls for an amendment to the Constitution to ensure full term of the Lok Sabha and suggested that MPs should come forward with an alternative while moving a no-confidence motion against a government.

Mr Paswan said no single party was likely to come to power in the next 10 years and frequent elections put immense burden on the poor as the government had to impose taxes to mop up additional resources for meeting poll expenses.

He said the LJP would provide for reservation in private sectors for Dalits, backward classes, minorities and weaker sections and added that all reservation quota, including promotions in government jobs, would be filled within a timeframe.

Mr Paswan said a judicial commission would be constituted and reservation quota extended to high judicial services. Besides, suitable reservation would be given in government service to those belonging to economically weaker sections.

The LJP President said his party would give proper representation to minorities in the police and paramilitary forces at the state and central levels.

On the Muslim personal laws, he said the LJP would neither take any initiative to amend them nor support them.

Mr Paswan said special courts would be set up to deal with communal riots and atrocities on the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

A separate ministry would be set up for population control in the country, he said.

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