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Shalender Kalra, Hindustan Times
NAHAN, September 19, 2013
Leader of Opposition Prem Kumar Dhumal has asked Himachal chief minister Virbhadra Singh to withdraw his statement delivered at a public meeting at Sarhan, where he had warned bureaucrats and government officers against meeting with Opposition leaders at rest house. The former chief minister alleged that the CM was trying to dictate terms to the bureaucrats instead of focusing on the development of the state.

Dhumal said MLS' enjoyed democratic rights to discuss development issues with the officers concerned of their respective areas, and thus, the CM should tender apology for his statement.

Interacting with mediapersons at Kala Amb on Thursday morning, Dhumal announced that no fee would be charged during the public meetings of the BJP prime ministerial candidate Narender Modi in the state. In some of the public meetings of Modi `5 was charged from visitors for the help of the victims of Kedarnath tragedy, he added.

The CM was on two-day (September 17-18) tour to Sirmour.

The former CM alleged that the Congress government of stalling the development of Himachal.

Hitting back at Virbhadra over his statement that the former BJP government had acted in a revengeful manner against him, Dhumal said the CM had forgotten that India is a democratic country where the rule of law prevails. He stressed that his government did not lodged fabricated cases against Virbhadra, but he himself was responsible for three cases - Sagar Katha, land grabbing and CD episode.

Reacting on the large-scale liquor seizure, in which the then chief parliamentary secretary (CPS) Sukh Ram was also allegedly involved, Dhumal said he had welcomed all inquiries being conducted by the Congress government, but it appeared that the CM wanted to influence the probe by issuing statements.

However, the leader of Opposition refused to comment on the ongoing issue of the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA), stating that the case was sub-judice, and thus, it would not be right to comment on it.

MLA Rajiv Bindal, former chairman of Cooperative Bank Chander Mohan Thakur, Baldeav Bhandari, Vinay Gupta and Rekha Tomar were also present on the occasion.