Himachal Pradesh Cupboard to take ultimate name on Dharamsala winter session

Tribune News Service

Shimla, November 30

The Himachal Pradesh Cabinet will hold a meeting here tomorrow to discuss the fate of the winter session of the Vidhan Sabha, which is scheduled to be held at Dharamsala from December 7 to 11.

Opinion divided Amid surge in covid cases

  • CM Jai Ram Thakur says most BJP MLAs not in favour of session due to Covid surge
  • Virbhadra Singh, former CM, wants session in Shimla instead of Dharamsala
  • CLP leader keen on session, though some of his party MLAs want it deferred

It is in view of the sudden surge in Covid cases and the high fatality figure that the possibility of the session being postponed has arisen. Even though an all-party meeting was held to deliberate on the issue, it could not reach a consensus. Hence, it was decided to place the matter before the Cabinet for a final decision even though the dates for the session have already been notified.

Opinion remains divided over the holding of the five-day session, scheduled to be held at Dharamsala. Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Mukesh Agnihotri has said that the session must be held even though some of his own party legislators are favouring postponement of the session. Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said a majority of the BJP legislators were not in favour of the session in view of the surge in Covid cases so the matter would be decided by the Cabinet.

Former Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh has demanded that the session must be held in Shimla instead of Dharamsala. The lone CPM legislator, Rakesh Singha, said the session should be conducted, though it could be held in Shimla.

There is a tradition of conducting the winter session in Dharamsala with the entire government, including the CM, ministers, MLAs, bureaucrats and other officials, moving there from Shimla. It is feared that since everyone will be putting up in rest houses and hotels, the chances of acquiring infection remain high.

Though the state government will be pleased if the session is not held to escape the Opposition ire over “poor Covid management”, it has now left it to the Cabinet to take the final call.

There is no constitutional binding to hold the session in the immediate future as the Assembly has to meet within six-month period, which will only be over on March 18 next year. The monsoon session had concluded on September 18.

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