Cabinet Ministers have denounced the recent statement of Leader of Opposition Prem Kumar Dhumal calling for change of leadership in Congress Government and termed that as inane and arrogant.

In their joint statement, Vidya Stokes, Irrigation and Public Health Minister, G.S.Bali, Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Minister and Anil Sharma, Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Minister, have advised Dhumal to behave maturely.

Congress leaders questioned Dhumal’s authority to suggest midterm polls in the State and said that he was behaving as if he was above the Constitution of the Country. He need not to worry about the Congress Party, they said further adding that it had faced such situations in the past also and had staged strong come-back every time.

They said that unlike BJP, where the Party was relegated to the backstage and the entire election campaign was centered around Narendra Modi, the Congress contested the parliamentary elections as an organization and it was absolutely ridiculous to hold any individual responsible for the defeat of Congress in the State. The poll results were not a referendum on the performance of the State Government. Modi wave swept the recent polls in the country including Himachal Pradesh and Dhumal or the BJP in Himachal Pradesh has no credit to take in it. He himself remained confined mostly in Hamirpur from where his son was contesting.

Cabinet Ministers stated that the Congress Party and the Government have accepted the verdict of the people with humility and reposed full faith in the leadership of Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh in the State. They said that Virbhadra Singh undertook an intense election campaign in the State and addressed 834 public meetings covering each and every assembly constituency of the State.

They said that Dhumal was targeting Virbhadra Singh out of vengeance and personal vendetta as he was not able to reconcile the defeat suffered at his hands in the last assembly elections where he had to lose power in the State. Dhumal was nurturing a ambition of somehow usurping power by destabilising the popularly elected Government in the State but his dreams would never materialise, they accused.

The Ministers said that Congress Government in the State was strong and stable and would complete its full tenure. They claimed that there were no dissent in the Party and all such speculations were concoctions of Dhumal for his lust for power. They advised Dhumal to lay his wild imaginations to rest and desist from indulging in misinformation and misleading people.

They said that since coming to power, the Congress Government has vigorously pursued pro-people programmes and policies in the state benefiting every section of the society. The pace of developmental activities would be further speeded up, they added. They said that Dhumal Government had left a legacy of empty coffers and shattered economy, which the present Government was painstakingly resurrecting.

The Ministers said that Dhumal Government itself was responsible for creating financial mess and leaving the State in a state of bankruptcy. The pervious BJP Government left public debt liabilities of Rs. 28,707 crore on the State. They failed to place the rightful factual claim of the State before the 13 Finance Commission resulting in a loss of Rs. 10,700 crore to the State Government as the Commission could not take account of the actual expenditure liability on the revenue account of the State. Dhumal Government made reckless and impractical announcements before the assembly elections to woo the voters, Congress leaders accused.

Despite all the financial hardships, the State Government has left no stone unturned to make sure that the development process in the State is not hampered. Against the approved plan outlays of Rs. 4100 crore during the Annual Plan 2013-14, the actual expenditure is anticipated to be much higher as the State Government has provided additional plan funds out of its own resources by cutting down on the wasteful expenditure. The State Government has enhanced the Annual Plan size for the year 2014-15 to Rs. 4400 crore and it would be ensured that all the budgetary allocations were spent in full.

They said that the road conditions were horrible during the BJP regime and it was the Congress Government which has undertaken construction of new roads besides improvement of existing roads in a big way throughout the State. The plan outlays for Roads and Bridges during the year 2013-14 were Rs. 732.05 crore which were released in full to the implementing agencies and even extra funds were provided immediately on demand. The outlays under Roads and Bridges have been enhanced to Rs. 761.05 crore during the Annual Plan 2014-15.

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Rahul Bhandari is Editor of TheNewsHimachal and has been part of the digital world for last 15 years.