Shimla: The tiny hill state of Himachal Pradesh has developed fast and there are no doubts that it has emerged as a ‘model of development’ for the hill states in India by showing remarkable achievement in different sectors over past decades. However, on this 69th Himachal Day on Friday, it is high time the political leadership in Himachal, the ruling as well as opposition, looked back to introspect what has gone wrong with the ‘politics’ in this peaceful state- which has failed to carry on with the ‘political decorum’ it was known for.For the last over two decades now, the state has seen its political environs going haywire with political rivals acting like personal enemies. And this animosity has trickled down to the level of workers, the bureaucracy, the officials and the government employees at any level, which affects governance. The state has so far seen five Chief Ministers- Dr YS Parmar, Shanta Kumar, Ram Lal Thakur, Virbhadra Singh and Prem Kumar Dhumal. Out of these, Virbhadra Singh has ruled the state for almost two decades in six tenures.
People in state generally feel the trend of bitterness in political scenario in Himachal Pradesh started in 90s, when then telecom minister Sukhram saw his downfall in the midst of a scam. At that time, his rivals in state Congress played a role in writing him off politically, but they failed. Sukhram swung back in 1998 in a different party (Himachal Vikas Congress) floated by him and formed government in alliance with BJP, with Prem Kumar Dhumal as Chief Minister. Virbhadra, then in opposition, faced a CBI inquiry then and another case of irregularity. He however got a clean chit.
In the successive Congress government in 2003, the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) headed by Dhumal’s son, now BJP MP, Anurag Thakur remained the target of government. In 2007, the Dhumal government came and a corruption case was registered against Virbhadra and the latter had to even step down from the Union ministry then. He was later acquitted by court. Since 2012 assembly poll, while Virbhadra Singh is continuously facing personalized attack by the Dhumals, the Virbhadra government presently too has not spared the Dhumals and has registered cases of irregularities against Anurag Thakur and even Dhumal in connection with alleged irregularities in HPCA. Virbhadra himself is facing two cases by CBI and ED, involving a lot of legal and political trouble, with entire BJP and even his detractors in Congress after him (albeit in a tacit manner). While this political hostility has crossed limits this time from both the sides and the present tenure of Congress has reduced to the era of family fight between Virbhadra and Dhumal, the state suffers.
“Until 90s, we remember that with the change in government, there would be no administrative reshuffle. The transit of the governments of different parties was so smooth that even the Chief Minister’s office remained untouched,” said a retired officer. “The political decency has fallen down to lowest levels,” Virbhadra often mentions in his public rallies. Dhumal, on the other hand, holds the present government responsible for political vendetta. All said and done, the vitiated political atmosphere in HP has already started takign toll on state’s development.
For more news updates Follow and Like us on Facebook