Monsoon session of HP Vidhan Sabha likely to start on a fierce note
The opposition will raise the issues of law and order, unemployment, farmers’ plight and the ballooning debt
The three-day monsoon session of the Himachal Pradesh assembly beginning Wednesday is likely to be a stormy affair with the opposition Congress deciding to corner the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government over a host of issues, including the constable recruitment examination paper leak.
The opposition will raise the issues of law and order, unemployment, farmers’ plight and the ballooning debt. According to the comptroller and auditor general (CAG) report released earlier this year, the overall debt burden on the state went up by 51.01% to ₹62,212 crore in 2019-20 from ₹41,197 crore in 2015-16.
This sharp spike is because of an increase in internal debt to the tune of ₹12,666.85 crore and public account liabilities of ₹8,352.80. “The government did not take any steps for resource mobilisation and there is no curb on the wasteful expenditure in the state,” said leader of opposition Mukesh Agnihotri. The Congress had been accusing the government of utilising government funds for the party programmes. “The state chopper is being misused and government funds are being spent on party programmes,” Agnihotri said.
The opposition is also vocal about central government’s Agnipath scheme for recruitment of soldiers below the rank of commissioned officers into the three services of the armed forces. There is a wide-scale resentment among people particularly in Mandi, Bilaspur, Kangra, Hamirpur and Una, which contribute greatly to the defence forces. There are more than 1.3 lakh soldiers and 1.36 lakh ex-servicemen in Himachal.
Among the key issues is the constable question paper leak scam. The question paper was leaked in the last week of March. More than 75,000 candidates appeared in the examination. “We had sought a CBI probe and an investigation by a sitting high court judge, but the government is just covering up its act,” said state Congress president Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu.
Plight of the farmers is also likely to rock the Vidhan Sabha session. Farmers are demanding the rollback of increased GST on the cartons. The government has already announced a subsidy on the purchase of cartons, but the farmer’s unions are demanding the government to ease the norms for availing of the subsidy.
This will be the last session of chief minister Jai Ram Thakur-led government. The government will make full use of the session to brand itself within the House ahead of the assembly elections due this year-end.
“The state government is ready for the session. An all-party meeting is scheduled for Tuesday. I am hopeful of a peaceful monsoon session,” said urban development and parliamentary affairs minister Suresh Bhardwaj.
The government is already in the election mode and has announced slew of measures eyeing electoral gains.
Disqualification of two MLAs: Speaker to take a call
Meanwhile, Vidhan Sabha speaker Vipin Singh Parmar on Monday said he will take a call on the Congress’ petition to disqualify the membership of two Independent legislators from the House in the ensuing Vidhan Sabha session.
Parmar addressed mediamen in Shimla to brief them about the upcoming assembly session.
Businessmen-turned-politicians Parkash Rana, an independent legislator from Jogindernagar, and Hoshiyar Singh, an MLA from Dehra, had joined the BJP on June 8 in presence of CM Jai Ram Thakur and party chief Suresh Kashyap.
Agnihotri and senior Congress legislator Nand Lal submitted a petition demanding the Speaker to disqualify them both. The Vidhan Sabha secretariat has decided to issue 50% capacity for seating in the audience hall.