BJP seeks negative Congress votes in Himachal; local issues hold firm


Photo credit Twitter Himachal Congress

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By Manish Anand

New Delhi, November 10: People in Himachal Pradesh will often be in praise of the incumbent Chief Minister and speak in same breath that the change is good for democracy and the state. The people in Himachal Pradesh believes by and large in equal sharing of power by Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party.

The electoral trend of Himachal Pradesh weighed high in the BJP campaign, as the saffron outfit sought to build an anti-Congress narrative. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Minister for Home Affairs Amit Shah counted the ‘sins’ of Congress in their respective rallies in Himachal Pradesh. They pleaded with the people in the hilly state to ensure that Congress doesn’t stage a comeback.

Congress’ face in Himachal Pradesh Virbhadra Singh is no more, and the incumbent Chief Minister Jairam Thakur could not step into the shoes of his predecessor Pram Kumar Dhumal or former Union Minister Shanta Kumar. Both the parties are without a local face who can win the mandate for their respective party.

The burden of campaign in the BJP fell on Modi, Shah and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. For Congress, the party’s national general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who spends days in the state during vacations, carried the show. The BJP chief JP Nadda stayed put in Himachal Pradesh. Congress chief Mallikarjuna Kharge laboured to make an appearance in Himachal Pradesh which will vote on Sunday.

Congress has promised to restore the ‘Old Pension Scheme’. Former chief of Congress Rahul Gandhi in a tweet said that the party on the lines of Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Jharkhand would implement the OPS in Himachal Pradesh. “Women in Himachal Pradesh will get Rs 1500 each month. This is Congress’ ‘Har Ghar Lakshmi guarantee,” tweeted Rahul Gandhi. Incidentally, he is leading ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ of Congress, and skipped the election campaign in Himachal Pradesh.

“Congress is not a democratic party. This is a party borne out of a family. To find space in Congress, one needs to be born in the families of the ruling classes,” said Shah in one of the rallies in the state.

Women voters since 1998 have been outnumbering their male counterparts by at least seven percentage points. But the BJP has fielded just six women candidates in Himachal Pradesh. Congress is also miser in fielding women candidates.

Besides OPS, the BJP also sweated out to counter the issues of unemployment, Agniveer – new scheme for employments in the armed forces, price rise. The Aam Aadmi Party top brass has turned their focus on Gujarat elections after a largescale defections of the leaders from the party in the run up to the announcement of the date of the elections.

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