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HindustanTimes Mon,22 Sep 2014

Himachal assembly has 26 sittings per year on average: NGOs

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Shimla, September 16, 2012
First Published: 20:36 IST(16/9/2012) | Last Updated: 20:39 IST(16/9/2012)

Since the elections are round the corner in the state and political parties are raising fingers about the performance of each other, two non-government organisations (NGOs), promoting electoral reforms, have revealed that the Himachal Pradesh assembly has the maximum of 26 sittings per year on average.

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While interacting with mediapersons here on Sunday, Anil Bairwal, coordinator of Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and National Election Watch (NEW), said that parties should adopt more transparency to improve the performance of the legislators.

A total of 107 bills were passed during the entire term of the Himachal Pradesh assembly between 2007 and 2012, said Bairwal.

He said, "The salaries and perks of the MLAs have been increasing but there is virtually no discussion on the role of the legislators. So the political parties should include the parameters for improving the performance of legislators in their election manifestoes."

Bairwal further said that all political parties should disclose their criteria for selection of candidates.

There are 22 candidates in the present assembly who have assets worth crores. They include 13 of the BJP, six of the Congress and two independent candidates.

Congress MLA Lakhwinder Singh Rana from Nalagarh assembly segment has assets worth Rs. 36.34 crore which is the highest in the state, followed by Khimi Ram of BJP from Banjar assembly segment (Rs 4.66 crore) and Sujjan Singh Pathania (Congress) from Jawali assembly segment (Rs 4.55 crore).

Twenty-six out of the total of 68 legislators in the state assembly have criminal cases against them, of which 22 are from the BJP, three from the Congress and one is independent.

On the other hand, Congress leaders remained on top in asking the maximum number of questions in the assembly - Kaul Singh on top, followed by Rajesh Dharmani and Mukesh Agnihotri.

All the political parties have been clamming to give 33% representation to women candidates, but the reality is otherwise. During the 2007 assembly elections in the state, there were 25 women candidates in the fray but only five could make their way to the assembly, which is only 7% of the total.

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