Virbhadra hits out at BJP govt,raises Prashant Bhushan’s land transaction

Union Minister for Micro,Small and Medium Enterprises Virbhadra Singh on Tuesday tore into the state BJP government on various issues like corruption,illegal land deals and dynastic rule.

Written by Express News Service | Shimla | Published:February 22, 2012 1:11 am

Union Minister for Micro,Small and Medium Enterprises Virbhadra Singh on Tuesday tore into the state BJP government on various issues like corruption,illegal land deals and dynastic rule,and did not spare the state Congress leadership either for not playing the role of an effective Opposition.

The five-time former chief minister raised the issue of land transfer recently allowed under Section 118 of the HP Tenancy and Land Reforms Act in favour of Team Anna member Prashant Bhushan at Palampur. “It’s a serious violation of the law,particularly the Land Ceiling Act. Tea estates are exempted from land ceiling. If any land relating to tea estate is diverted for use other than tea plantation,the government has powers to take over the land immediately,” he told a press conference,purportedly convened on completion of his 50 years in politics,here on Tuesday. “Why such a favour and open violation then?”

He demanded a CBI probe into the Rs 150 crore pulses scam,which had come to light recently. He claimed though the state Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau had registered a case,only officials were being questioned. A scam of such a scale could not happen without the patronage of top leaders.

Singh said another scam relating to purchase of medicines by the State Civil Supplies Corporation was also likely to be exposed. “We have got sufficient proof about the scam and would make it public very soon,” he added.

On a six-day tour of the state,he said while the BJP rebels — who have now formed a political outfit — had gone far ahead to highlight the corruption and family rule of the BJP,the Congress was fighting shy of speaking about corruption and scams. “The public expected the Congress to play the role of an effective Opposition,but unfortunately,it’s his majesty’s loyal Opposition,unable to corner the BJP government,” he said. “After all,23 Opposition MLAs in a 68-member House is not a small number. Such a strong strength can easily rock the very foundation of the government. But,sadly,it has not happened.”

On reports about his support to the BJP ‘s breakaway group,the Union Minister said,“It’s a canard spread by Congress leader Asha Kumar (a former Himachal minister).”

Although he admitted that he had a role to play in the state as this was an election year,he said he would come to Himachal Pradesh for elections only if asked by the Congress high command. “I will not thrust my services upon anyone. I have left it all to the party to choose my role,” he said. “If I am not assigned any task,anything can happen (in the state).”

On the BJP’s decision to appoint Satpal Satti as new state president,Singh said this would not make much difference as the real issue of corruption and the crisis in the BJP had not been addressed even after J P Nadda’s team visited the state.

Cautioning the bureaucrats reportedly functioning as more than partymen for the government,he said,“We know all these elements who have brought shame to the bureaucracy by their actions. The Congress,on return to power,will deal with them by ordering inquiries into their acts of omissions and commissions,even if they retire.”

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