Kangra split still a political issue: The Tribune India
Dharamsala, October 26
The division of Kangra into smaller districts remains an electoral issue. Kangra is one of the largest districts in the state in terms of population. The district has approximately 25% population and 15 Assembly segments. Any party that wins 10 or more Assembly seats in Kangra forms the state government.
In Fatehpur constituency, supporters of Forestry Minister Rakesh Pathania have waged a social media campaign that if elected, Nurpur will get district status and many government offices will be relocated to Fatehpur. They argue that Pathania brought the police district tag for Nurpur and if he is re-elected then it will be a district.
The issue of his division has remained politically active for some time now. While the leaders of Palampur, Nurpur and Dehra advocate its division, those of Dharamsala, Kangra and Shahpur are not in favor of it.
Pathania is an advocate for the establishment of Nurpur as a district. At the end of this government’s term, Pathania succeeded in gaining police district status for the region.
While campaigning in Nurpur, Pathania had claimed that he would also get district status for Nurpur.
However, ironically, the BJP moved Pathania from its home Nurpur constituency to neighboring Fatehpur constituency.
Demand has also been raised regarding granting Palampur district status. Although the demand was supported by some leaders of the ruling party, it did not win popular support.
The BJP government in 2003, led by former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, had posted ADC-ranking officers in Palampur, Nurpur and Dehra with an indication that if elected to power, it could divide Kangra into districts smaller.
The post of divisional commissioner, Kangra, was also eliminated. However, this decision did not generate any political advantage as the BJP lost 10 seats to Kangra. The Congress government, after taking office, eliminated the ADC positions and recreated the position of Divisional Commissioner.
At that time, even top BJP leaders in Kangra, including former CM Shanta Kumar and now BJP MP Kishan Kapoor, had opposed Kangra’s split. They had alleged that this decision was aimed at completing the political identity of the region.
Former Congress chief minister Virbhadra Singh was never in favor of splitting Kangra. Kangra already has 15 subdivisions. Administrative experts are of the view that creating more districts out of Kangra will only put a financial burden on the state as it will have to create more infrastructure for the offices of deputy commissioners. Additionally, it will create a demand for more districts in other parts of the state.
Significance of the neighborhood
- Kangra is one of the largest districts in terms of population
- It has a population of about 25 pc and 15 assemblage segments
- Any party that wins 10 or more Assembly seats in Kangra forms the state government