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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
H I M A C H A L    P R A D E S H    E D I T I O N

Decision on HLP-AAP merger today
Shimla, January 25
Even as the possibility of a merger of the Himachal Lokhit Party (HLP) with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) remains very much open, leaders of the two parties will be meeting at Mandi tomorrow to discuss the crucial issue so as to avoid division of anti-Congress and anti-BJP votes.

Statehood day
Creation of more districts can burden finances: CM
Dehra (Dharamsala), January 25
Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh today ruled out the formation of new districts in the state. While addressing mediapersons on the 44th Himachal Statehood Day at Dehra today, the Chief Minister said the state already had 12 districts and creation of more districts would be a financial burden on the state.
Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh inspects a parade on the 44th Himachal Statehood Day at Dehra on Saturday. Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh inspects a parade on the 44th Himachal Statehood Day at Dehra on Saturday.

Have aptitude test for students: HPPSC chief
Shimla, January 25
Himachal Pradesh Public Service Commission (HPPSC) Chairman KS Tomar has urged the state government to introduce an aptitude test for students in schools and colleges so that candidates from rural areas are not at a disadvantage.


YOUR TOWN
Dharamsala
Shimla



EARLIER STORIES

HP Chief Secy discharged from hospital
Shimla, January 25
Himachal Pradesh Chief Secretary Sudripta Roy, who had suffered a stroke on October 1 last year, was finally discharged from Medanta Hospital in Gurgaon, where he was undergoing treatment.

Dry weather in state as mercury rises
Shimla, January 25
The intense cold wave persisted in the state even as the weather remained dry and maximum temperature rose marginally in lower hills.





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Decision on HLP-AAP merger today
Pratibha Chauhan
Tribune News Service

Shimla, January 25
Even as the possibility of a merger of the Himachal Lokhit Party (HLP) with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) remains very much open, leaders of the two parties will be meeting at Mandi tomorrow to discuss the crucial issue so as to avoid division of anti-Congress and anti-BJP votes.

Senior AAP leader Harish Kalra will be arriving from Delhi to hold a meeting with senior Himachal Lokhit Party leaders in Mandi.

While the Himachal Lokhit Party is said to have expressed a desire to enter seat-sharing for the Lok Sabha polls, it is being reported that there is no provision for this in the AAP constitution.

The question of merger will thus be discussed tomorrow.

Senior HLP leaders, including former MLAs Khushi Ram Balnahata, Shyama Sharma, Dulo Ram, Naveen Dhiman and Babu Ram Mandyal, met senior AAP leader Sanjay Singh in Delhi on January 23. State convener of HLP and its lone legislator Maheshwar Singh could not meet the AAP leaders as he had to return midway due to a major theft in the Raghunath temple in Kullu.

Though AAP is learnt to be opposed to the idea of seat-sharing with any political party all over India, discussions have been held on seat-sharing so that the anti-Congress and anti-BJP vote remains consolidated. The HLP has reportedly expressed a desire to field its candidates from Mandi and Kangra LS seats out of the total of four parliamentary seats in Himachal.

"Senior HLP leaders have held discussions with AAP leader Sanjay Singh on the possibility of seat-sharing in Himachal, but we are still awaiting their final response," confirmed Balnahata.

He said as far as the question of merger of the HLP with AAP is concerned, a final decision will be taken by the state party unit collectively as the party in Himachal was formed with the idea of fighting corruption as was done by Arvind Kejriwal later.

The HLP was floated by the BJP splinter group in February 2012 after differences surfaced with the then BJP Chief Minister PK Dhumal. The party headed by former BJP president and MP Maheshwar Singh was, however, able to win only one seat in the Assembly polls.

It managed to make a dent in the BJP votebank, ensuring that the saffron party stayed out of power.

The HLP leaders, despite extending support to the Congress, have now and then been raising corruption-related issues.

In fact, senior HLP leaders have expressed their dissatisfaction over the pace of investigation into various issues that figured in the Congress "chargesheet" against the BJP regime.

Warming up
Senior AAP leader Harish Kalra will be arriving from Delhi to hold a meeting with senior HLP leaders in Mandi
The HLP was floated by the BJP splinter group in February 2012 after differences surfaced with the then BJP CM PK Dhumal
While the HLP is said to have expressed a desire to enter seat-sharing for the LS polls, it is being reported that there is no provision for this in the AAP constitution

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Statehood day
Creation of more districts can burden finances: CM
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Dehra (Dharamsala), January 25
Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh today ruled out the formation of new districts in the state. While addressing mediapersons on the 44th Himachal Statehood Day at Dehra today, the Chief Minister said the state already had 12 districts and creation of more districts would be a financial burden on the state.

If the need arises, the government could think of reorganising the districts, he said. In a major announcement, Virbhadra announced the opening of an SDM office at Jwalamukhi which meant that the SDM, Dehra, would also sit at Jwalamukhi.

Employees were expecting an announcement regarding the release of pending 10 per cent DA on the Statehood Day, however, the Chief Minister failed to oblige.

The state-level function to mark the Himachal Statehood Day was organised at the Shaheed Bhuvnesh Dogra Stadium, Dehra.

The CM unfurled the national flag and took a salute at an impressive march past presented by the police, Mahilla police, IRB Battalion and Home Guards.

Major decisions
Rs 40 lakh for the development of Shaheed Bhuvnesh Dogra Stadium, CT scan machine on public-private mode at the Civil Hospital, Dehra, and Rs 4.3 crore for Government College, Haripur
Upgrade of government schools in various constituencies
Opening of sub-tehsils at Haripur (Guler), Gangath (Indora) and Panchrukhi
Upgrade of the Civil Hospital, Jaisinghpur, to a 50-bed hospital

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Have aptitude test for students: HPPSC chief
Tribune News Service

Shimla, January 25
Himachal Pradesh Public Service Commission (HPPSC) Chairman KS Tomar has urged the state government to introduce an aptitude test for students in schools and colleges so that candidates from rural areas are not at a disadvantage.

In a letter written to Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, he said the introduction of an aptitude test in schools, colleges and universities would go a long way in helping youth, especially those from rural areas. He said the participation of Himachali youth in the UPSC and state services competitive examinations was barely 45 per cent.

Tomar said candidates from urban background, owing to a sound financial position and greater exposure to modern and better coaching, fare better in such exams.

He said with better grooming and coaching, candidates from rural areas would be able to deal with entrance examinations and interviews in a much more confident manner.

He also sought the sanction for the construction of a new block in the HPPSC for setting up a library for students preparing for different examinations, a waiting hall for candidates who appear for interviews and a proper car parking. As per approximate estimates, the total cost of the construction of a new block would be around Rs 2.50 crore, he added.

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HP Chief Secy discharged from hospital
Tribune News Service

Shimla, January 25
Himachal Pradesh Chief Secretary Sudripta Roy, who had suffered a stroke on October 1 last year, was finally discharged from Medanta Hospital in Gurgaon, where he was undergoing treatment.

Considering improvement in Roys condition, he was discharged from the hospital on January 23. His wife Chandna Roy said her husband was better now and recuperating.

She, however, said she was pained to see reports in the media hinting that the state government did not come to help the family.

The Himachal Pradesh Government has been very kind and considerate at every stage during the treatment, both in Chandigarh and in Delhi. So it is wrong to speculate otherwise, she said.

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Dry weather in state as mercury rises
Tribune News Service

Shimla, January 25
The intense cold wave persisted in the state even as the weather remained dry and maximum temperature rose marginally in lower hills.

The high-altitude tribal areas reeled under freezing cold conditions as the mercury dipped to -11.9C at Keylong and -11.1C at Bharmaur, while Manali and Kalpa shivered at -2.4C.

The sky remained partially overcast and chilly winds swept Shimla and other mid hills. The Hindustan-Tibet Highway and other roads in the interiors were cleared and vehicular traffic was restored, sources said.

All lakes, springs, rivulets and the long stretch of the Chandrabhaga in tribal areas remained frozen for the past seven weeks as mercury stayed between -13C and -22C.

The maximum day temperature rose to 22.2C in Una followed by Sundernagar 20.3C and Solan 18C. Bhunter recorded a maximum temperature of 17.4C, followed by Nahan 16.5C, Dharamsala 16.2C, Shimla 15C and Kalpa 3.6C.

The local Met office has predicted rain or snow in higher hills tomorrow and dry weather in mid and lower hills from today.

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