Monsoon session of Himachal Pradesh Assembly is, however, set to begin on sombre note on 23 August with obituary references for former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who always showered special concern on the hill state.

The Opposition Congress is geared up to corner Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government on ‘administrative’ failures in its eight months rule in Himachal, right from Kasauli shoot out over demolition drive, that claimed two lives, to the worst ever water crisis in Shimla.

“Just because of the myopic vision of the present government, Shimla got defamed for the water crisis nationally as well as internationally for the water crisis. The government swung into action only after people took to streets over the water scarcity in Shimla. The Congress party will raise this issue strongly,” said Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, state Congress president, Himachal Pradesh, who represents Nahan Assembly segment in the Assembly.

Sukhu said the Congress will also question the government on the Kasauli shoot out, which occurred just because of laxity on the part of administration. “There was total lack of official preparedness while implementing Supreme Court orders on demolition of unauthorised buildings,” he said.

Besides, the Congress party is likely to rake up debate on drug menace in HP, an issue that has acquired serious proportions in the state lately. “The crime rate in state has increased and the menace of drugs is going out of hands. The government needs to draw a joint strategy with neighbouring states to nab the networking of drug peddlers. Our party wants strict implementation of the law to check drug pedalling,” said Congress leaders.

The nine-day session till 31 August will have seven sittings, including a private members day on 30 August. The members, across the parties, are prepared to take up the issue of damage in different districts due to rains and the condition of roads.

The BJP Legislative Party, headed by Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur will, however, chalk out its floor strategy for the Monsoon session in a meeting late in the evening, the insiders said ruling benches are also fully prepared to counter the Congress attack.

“Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur has done good work in eight months and has jumped into the problems to solve them. He has never evaded any issue, whether it is about drug menace, the Kasauli shoot out or the water crisis. Rather, he is the only CM who took lead in monitoring the water situation day to day in Shimla till it got normal,”he said.

He said the strength of BJP is the honest function of the CM, and the Congress party can’t draw any mileage over any issue by making it controversial.

Assembly Speaker, Dr Rajeev Bindal, who is extra cautious to run the session smoothly, has already convened all party meeting in this regard. “I hope the members fully utilise the opportunity to raise the issues of public importance,” said the Speaker.