The Himachal Pradesh high court's order directing the state government to restore the status quo ante on the petition of Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association has come as a breather for the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party which was under constant attack from the ruling Congress.
Former chief minister and senior BJP leader Prem Kumar Dhumal on Tuesday hailed the decision ordering restoration of possession of the picturesque international cricket stadium in Dharamsala to the state cricket body calling it a landmark decision.
Dhumal told HT that the state government had committed a crime by replacing the locks at the stadium with their own with the help of the police. He said the previous BJP government had taken the decision after thorough verification as per the law. "We developed the infrastructure for games in state, but it was not digestible to the Congress party," he said.
Dhumal said the decision of the high court had exposed the real face of the state government.
"The court has rightly said that the action was politically motivated and goes against all established norms, rule of law and the constitution. We have full faith in the judiciary and the judiciary has given the right judgment," he said.
Earlier Congress had trained guns on Dhumal alleging undue favor towards HPCA-led by his son Anurag Thakur. The government had taken over the stadiums and cricket academies of HPCA on October 26.
In another statement, BJP state president Satpal Satti, vice-president Ramswaroop Sharma, Narender Bragata, general secretary Rajiv Bindal welcomed the court's verdict.
Terming it a historic decision, BJP leaders said it was a major decision against the undemocratic actions of the Congress government led by chief minister Virbhadra Singh.
This decision has strengthened the faith of youth and common masses in the judiciary. “This is a big jolt to the Virbhadra Singh's government and its spite,” they said.
The BJP leaders expressed faith that the court's decision would help in putting a check of the 'arbitrary' actions of the government.
They further said that the BJP would continue with its efforts of ensuring participation of youths in sports.
On October 28, the BJP had staged a protest across the state against the government's action. The activists also burnt the effigies of Virbhadra Singh at several places including state capital Shimla.
Meanwhile, Dehra legislator Ravinder Ravi, Shimla legislator Suresh Bhardwaj and Chamba legislator BK Chauhan, while lauding the high court's decision sought Virbhadra Singh's resignation.
They said HC's order has vindicated the stance of the BJP on the HPCA. The Congress had been making oft-repeated allegations against the HPCA and the previous BJP government to spread canard among commoners.
Meanwhile, former education minister ID Dhiman and district BJP chief Vijay Agnihotri in a joint statement hailed the high court's decision and congratulated Anurag Thakur for his victory. They said whatever the state government had done was anti-sportspersons in general and anti-people in particular.
The BJP camp here celebrated and elated workers distributed sweets among themselves to mark the victory. Pyare Lal Sharma, former district BJP chief, Baldev Dhiman, mandal BJP president, Vijay Pal Soharu, general secretary of district BJP, Ajay Sharma, in-charge BJP media cell and Dharmendra Sharma, vice-president of Hamirpur civic body among others were also present.
They held a victory rally at the local Gandhi chowk and raised anti-state government and anti-chief minister slogans. They even burnt crackers claiming it to be another Diwali for the party. The BJP leaders said it was the victory of good over evil.