By: Yashwant Rai>
Shimla: For the first time in the history of Himachal Pradesh, the three major political parties of Himachal Pradesh would include issues pertaining to the disabled in their manifestos.
(L to R) Tikender Panwar (CPM), K R Balnatah (BJP), Kuldeep Rathore (Congress) and Ajai Srivastava (SDRS) in a panel discussion organised by SDRS, H P Chapter at Press Club of Shimla (Photo: Dalel Thakur)
For the first time in the history of Himachal Pradesh, the three major political parties of Himachal Pradesh would include issues pertaining to the disabled in their manifestos.In a panel discussion on ‘Disabled and Election Agenda’, organised by Society for Disability and Rehabilitation Studies (SDRS), Himachal Pradesh Chapter, at Press Club of Shimla on October, 19, the senior leaders of state BJP, Congress and CPM made a public commitment in this regard.
Assembly elections in the state are scheduled for November 14 and December 19.
This is a first of its kind initiative in the country when political parties with opposite ideologies shared a common platform to discuss the problems being faced by the disabled and agreed to solve them. They were of all praise for SDRS, and its efforts in empowering the disabled in this hill state.
Initiating the discussion, Chairman of Himachal Pradesh Chapter of the Society, Ajai Srivastava said that disability issues were no where in the agenda of political parties and never any discussion on these issues took place in the state assembly.
He said that it was high time that issues of the disabled be taken care of by including them in the election manifesto.
He blamed the adamant attitude of bureaucracy and lack of political will for the non- implementation of Disability Act in the state. According to him, it was only after the landmark judgement of Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Surinder Singh of Himachal Pradesh High Court, delivered on June 22, this year, that the government took steps to implement the provisions of Persons with Disability Act- 1995.
HP Congress General Secretary, Kuldeep Rathore, BJP General Secretary, Khushi Ram Balnatah and State Secretariat Member of CPM, Tikender Panwar, while participating in the programme, accepted that the political parties had largely ignored the interests of the disabled in the state.
Khushi Ram Balnatah stressed on sensitising the society so that the disabled were ensured equal opportunities and full participation as per the provisions of the act. He agreed with Kuldeep Rathore that the rights issue of the disabled should not be politicised.
Tikender Panwar lamented that in the capitalist society there was a general lack of concern for the disabled.
Sanjay Sood and Ranjeet Rana of Udaan, Dalel Thakur, Bharti Kuthiala and Balram Sharma of SDRS, Rakesh Sharma of Sameeksha and many other representatives of local NGOs along with media persons participated in the brain storming panel discussion.