BJP to start week-long Himachal 'siege' Monday

Shimla, Aug 11 (IANS) The opposition BJP will launch a week-long "siege" of all district headquarters in Himachal Pradesh Monday to protest registration of criminal cases against its leaders and functionaries, the party said Sunday.

"All top party leaders, including former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, will participate in protests in front of the deputy commissioners' offices across the state from August 12 to 19 against the government's political vendetta," state BJP chief Satpal Satti told IANS.

He said the Congress government, in just seven months of its regime, registered more than a dozen cases against political opponents.

Party leaders said more than 50,000 party workers are expected to participate in the week-long "siege".

Political observers say BJP's recent provocation is the registration of a cheating and misappropriation case against the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA), a cricket body controlled by BJP MP Anurag Thakur.

The case was registered August 1, over alleged wrongdoings in the allotment of land to the HPCA by the previous BJP regime for constructing a players' residential complex near its stadium in Dharamsala, some 250 km from here.

Earlier, the state's vigilance and anti-corruption bureau had filed a chargesheet in a Solan court against BJP legislator and former minister Rajeev Bindal, a close confidant of Dhumal, in an alleged corruption case.

The case against Bindal pertains to appointments in the Municipal Council of Solan while he was its chairman in 1999.

Satti said the government, by registering cases, aimed at garnering cheap publicity to divert the attention of the people against more pressing and important issues.

He said the party would hold a demonstration outside the state legislative assembly August 23, the third day of the monsoon session.

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