The monsoon session of the Vidhan Sabha beginning Wednesday is expected to generate a lot of heat over Badla, Badli and Virodh (vendetta, transfers and opposition) campaign initiated by opposition Bharatiya Janata Party against the Virbhadra Singh-led Congress government.
Both main parties - the Congress and the BJP - met here on Tuesday evening to finalise their strategies for the monsoon session. Armed with strong lung power, the opposition BJP will launch an offensive against the ruling parties over the decisions taken during the past few months, particularly the case against Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) headed by former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal's elder son Anurag Thakur.
The saffron party is also upset over registration of cases against former health minister Dr Rajeev Bindal and former industry minister Kishan Kapoor.
“Except for the badla and badly, this government has hardly done anything since it took over. The Congress government used all its might to take over the HPCA, when it assumed power in 2003. It brought the sports bill to take control over sports bodies in Himachal. When the bill failed to achieve its purpose, they later scrapped by issuing a cabinet memo,” former chief minister and leader of the opposition Dhumal told the Hindustan Times before he left for the BJP legislator group meeting.
“Where has one seen me helping my son Anurag promoting cricket,” said Dhumal when asked about Congress charges against him of promoting his son's flair for cricket. “The HPCA has built a world-class stadium and help promote Himachal internationally through matches played there,” he said.
It is likely that the BJP will make a bid to turn the heat on the ruling party over the much-hyped telephone tapping controversy. “Now-a-days, even Congress leaders are scared of talking on telephones. Is it just because phones are still under surveillance. Let there be an inquiry, the facts will come to fore that who is tapping the phones,” said Dhumal, indicating that the BJP would not be on the defensive on the telephone tapping issue.
“The government is working with political vendetta and the BJP will raise this issue during the session through protest outside the Vidhan Sabha on August 23,” said Suresh Bhardwaj, party's chief whip.
Non-availability of sugar at ration depots under the public distribution system is another issue that the BJP would target the Congress on.
The ruling Congress will try to highlight the achievements of its government after the budget session. The Congress had recently announced additional dearness allowance of 8% to woo the powerful employees lobby in the state. The Congress has also reduced the age for skill development allowance from 25 to 18 years.
The ruling party will try to counter the opposition attack by raking up the decisions of the previous Dhumal government. Phone tapping and land deals during the previous regime will be one of the issues.