Former Bharitya Janta Party minister and Shahpur MLA Sarween Chaudhary has accused local Congress party leaders of preventing her from attending functions presided over by chief minister Virbhadra Singh in the district's remote Dharkandi area.
"At two such events held in Drini and Rulehad villages, a local Congress leader, Kewal Singh Pathania, who is the vice- chairman of the Forest Corp, objected when I sat on the stage. He not only stopped me from addressing the gatherings but time and again asked me to leave, which is totally unacceptable. When I refused he then urged the chief minister to tell me to go.
When I sought the reason I was told the functions had been organized by the Congress party. Even the chief minister later told me to not to attend such events. But if these were Congress party functions why was government machinery being misused?" Chaudhary said on Sunday.
"In virtue of my capacity of being the local MLA I had every right to attend the government sponsored functions. I felt humiliated by the behavior of the ruling party leaders, she added.
Chaudhary also alleged the development projects that Virbhadra announced at the events had been launched by the previous BJP ruled government. "Even the irrigation channels that the chief minister announced would built in the area was my priority when I was the minister. Pathania was afraid I'd expose him and hence wanted me to leave.
Work on these irrigation channels has begun four months ago but still local leaders asked the chief minister to announce these projects as they wanted to take credit for them. I've documentary proof to substantiate my claims. It was I who had brought these projects to the area and had every right to be present when they were announced," she added.
Meanwhile, reacting to Chaudhary's allegations, Virbhadra said that his visit to the area was not part of a government programme. "We didn't ask her not to attend the events but these were Congress party functions. She was with me in my car and also had lunch with me. I won't allow anyone to be slighted in my presence," he said, adding Chaudhary had earlier also attended his functions.