Shimla: In a major political decision in the election year, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh on Thursday announced that Dharamsala town in Kangra district will be the second state capital. Camping at Dharamsala these days during his annual winter vacation, the Chief Minister said the town, some 250 km from the state capital Shimla, has a significance and history of its own and fully deserved to be the second capital of the state.
He said Dharamsala held a special importance and value to the lower areas of the state comprising Kangra, Chamba, Hamirpur and Una districts.
The people of these areas would now be benefitted of this special status and they would not have to travel to longer distance to Shimla for their work, a statement quoting the Chief Minister said.
He said Dharamsala was already marked prominently not only in the map of India but of the world due to its significance owing to many reasons, including the Dalai Lama's abode.
Prominent personalities across the world visited this hilly town throughout the year.
The Chief Minister said a full-fledged winter session of the state assembly was held for the first time outside Shimla in December 2005.
A complete Vidhan Sabha building exists in Dharamsala for which the foundation was laid in his last tenure in 2006. This town has already been a witness of holding 12 winter sessions of the assembly so for.
Virbhadra Singh said he introduced the practice of annual winter sojourn way back in 1994 to hear the people and see for himself the progress of development works being carried out in the area.
BJP leader and two-time former Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal described the decision of the government just to woo the voters ahead of the elections.
"The Congress government has failed to fulfill its promises made during the last elections. Now this is an attempt to woo them," he told IANS.
Kangra is the largest district in the state with 15 of 68 assembly seats.
Himachal Pradesh is scheduled to go to polls by December.