Former cricketer Madan Lals political innings has not started out on an auspicious note. The Congress,which gave him the ticket from Hamirpur,is finding it tough to prove his credentials as a native of the district. Several members of the district Congress have resigned and PCC president Kaul Singh Thakur,who himself had been snubbed,is facing a revolt-like situation. Former CM Virbhadra Singhnow contesting from Mandialso wants Madan Lal replaced. Both have openly backed Narinder Thakur,son of late BJP leader Jagdev Chand,ever since he revolted against Dhumal and joined the Congress. A BJP leader,meanwhile,remarked,Madan Lal is a tourist,and will return as soon as polls are over.
Prodigal princess returns to Jodhpur
She belongs to the royal family of Jodhpur but Chandresh Kumaris political career took off only once she settled in Himachal Pradesh after marrying Raja Aditya Dev Chand Katoch. Now,the former Congress minister-who lost the Assembly election in 2007 from Dharamsala is all set to contest the Lok Sabha elections from Jodhpur. The former MP and all India Mahila Congress president,who is said to be close to party president Sonia Gandhi, had represented Kangra in 1984 and later had a stint in the Rajya Sabha. She was health minister in the Virbhadra Singh government before she was dropped during Cabinet downsizing. She was defeated by Krishan Kapoor,now a Cabinet minister. However,there is mixed reaction in the Congress over her return to Rajasthan since she hasnt spent much time campaigning in Kangra. Now,an old Hindi film song Mein maike chalee jaungee,tum dekhte rahiyo (Ill go back to my maternal home,just you watch) is being hummed in the hill state to allude to Chandreshs flight to Jodhpur.
Dhumal asks Chief Secy to explain scandals
Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal is reeling under the repercussions of what is being viewed as the administrative machinerys failures. This year,in particular,turned out to be quite a nightmare. The death of Aman Satya Kachroo due to ragging at a government-run medical college,sexual exploitation of minor girls at a Shimla-based NGO for special-needs children,a university professor involved in an objectionable SMS case,and the huge bungling of the Catchment Area Treatment (CAT) plan exposed after the arrest of a divisional forest officer have caused a serious loss of face. Shaken by the incidents,Dhumal has shot off a letter to Chief Secretary Asha Swaroop asking her to find reasons for all lapses and to fix responsibility.
CM hits out at Centre for IPL blow
All arrangements were in place to prepare Dharamsala for its time in the cricketing spotlight. The newly built Rs 32-crore international cricket stadium,complete with the snow-covered Dhauladhar ranges in its backdrop,was all spruced up to host four matches and locals looked forward to extra business. The shifting of the IPL out of the country,therefore,came as a massive blow to the state. In fact,Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association president Anurag Thakur,the driving force behind the elaborate preparations,had the full backing of his father Prem Kumar Dhumal. Now,Dhumal is blaming the Centre for the shifting of the IPL matches,which he says has been a big loss to the state and has dented Indias international image. Whether this will translate into an election issue remains to be seen.
Who will be in the Union Cabinet?
Just who will represent the state in the next Union Cabinet is a question thats causing frenzied speculation here. The fact that no one has a clue about which party or combine will form the government hasnt stopped those in political circles from laying their bets. Currently,it is Minister of State for External Affairs Anand Sharma,a Rajya Sabha member,representing Himachal but former chief minister and Congress leader Virbhadra Singh stands a good chance if he is elected,think political observers. If the NDA returns to power,the chatterati believe Shanta Kumar will be a hot favourite,or could it be the saffron partys youthful face Anurag Thakur?