The budget session of the Himachal Pradesh Vidhan Sabha beginning on Monday is likely to witness a lot of fireworks, as opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is gearing up to launch a “blistering attack” on the Congress government by confronting it on corruption charges against chief minister Virbhadra Singh.
The session will begin with governor Urmila Singh's address, in which she is expected to underline the Congress government's policies and programmed, which would highlight the achievements of the one-year rule of the CM, possibly prompting uproar in the house.
In the wake of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, the CM is likely to present a people-centric budget.
BJP to meet on Monday
The BJP's legislature party will meet on Monday morning to chalk out its strategy for the budget session.
“BJP legislators will meet on Sunday to draw its strategy for the budget session. We are sure that corruption in the Congress will remain the top item on our agenda,” state BJP chief Satpal Singh Satti, a legislator from Una, told Hindustan Times on Saturday.
The opposition party will corner the Congress government over corruption charges against the CM. “On one hand, the Congress is taking credit for bringing Lokpal to help check corruption, but on the other, it is patronising corrupt leaders,” alleged Satti, indicating that his party was sure to target the CM in this budget session as well.
Short supply of ration in government-run depots will be another tool that the opposition will use in the budget session to corner the government.
“The food and supplies department has ordered that the ration cards be remade, even as the ones issued last year were valid till 2017. The government's decision to issue Aadhaar card-linked ration cards is nothing but harassment to the public. Instead of introducing new ration cards, the government should ensure adequate ration at the government-run depots,” said another BJP legislator.
The BJP will also confront the government on the issue of relief for rain-ravaged areas. Incessant rains had caused widespread devastation in the tribal Kinnaur district last June, but the state has not received any assistance from the Centre, in spite of many pleas. The BJP has criticised the Congress government for “failing to secure” central assistance.
It is also critical of the decision to replace old electricity meters, as there are widespread complaints of inflated electricity bills. The BJP has included this in the issues that it will use against the Congress in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. Shimla legislator Suresh Bhardwaj on Friday had staged a protest against inflated bills.
Congress to fight back
The Congress is likely to counter the BJP's accusations by raising the issue of irregularities in the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association. The state anti-corruption and vigilance bureau, which had registered a case of cheating against HPCA for transforming the sports body into a company, has readied a chargesheet.
Chief minister Virbhadra Singh has repeatedly backed the re-enactment of the sports bill to regulate the sports bodies. There is a good chance that the government could introduce the bill during this budget session. The sports bill, introduced by the Congress government in 2005, was reintroduced by the BJP, after assuming power in 2008.
The Congress legislature party will meet on Sunday to finalise its strategy.
Issues likely to be raised by BJP
Corruption charges against CM Virbhadra Singh
Relief for rain-ravaged areas
Replacement of electricity meters