By Tushar Singh
Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the poll-bound state of Himachal Pradesh on 2nd November 2017. The PM addressed two election rallies here, first in Rehan in the Fatehpur Assembly constituency in Kangra district and another in Dhaula Kuan in Paonta Sahib. The state is set to go to polls on November 9. The BJP’s chief ministerial face Prem Kumar Dhumal was also present at the rally in Rehan.
The Prime Minister’s take
While speaking at the election rally in Fatehpur constituency’s Rehan, Modi brought up the corruption allegations against the Congress. Modi said that Congress is no more an institution of Mahatma Gandhi, of those who fought for freedom. It is a party mired in dynasty, corruption and the BJP wants to get rid of such a rotten Congress. He said the Virbhadra Singh government created five demons in ‘Devbhumi’ Himachal Pradesh—mining mafia, forest mafia, drug mafia, tender mafia and transfer mafia. The Prime Minister said there was an urgent need to “save Himachal from the Congress,” which he said now only symbolises Bhrashtachaar (corruption), Pariwaarwaad (family), Jaatiwaad (caste politics). He also said that Congress has become a laughing club and it must introspect why the entire country is turning away from the Congress leaders and their party. He said even a child won’t believe Congress’ manifesto which talks of zero corruption and “It is time to bid farewell to those who have looted Himachal Pradesh.”
At a Dhaula Kuan rally, Modi said that the government has linked its schemes with Aadhar, started direct transfers to bank accounts and now Rs 57,000 crore that was earlier being syphoned off has been saved. PM Modi said that the only identity of the Virbhadra government, the party, and party leaders is corruption. He concluded by saying that there are few elections where people pre-decide whom to elect and this will be such an election. “Congress knows they’ll be wiped off”, Modi asserted.
Conforming to past patterns
This is in line with BJP’s strategy of pointing out corruption in a Congress-ruled state. Himachal Pradesh has an incumbent Congress government, whose leader Virbhadra Singh has faced corruption allegations. CBI had filed charge sheet against the Himachal Pradesh CM Virbhadra Singh and his wife in a Disproportionate Assets Case in March earlier this year. The case was registered after a preliminary inquiry found that Virbhadra Singh, during his term as a Union minister from 2009 to 2012, allegedly accumulated assets worth ₹6.03 crore, which were disproportionate to his known sources of income.
Consequences for the Congress
The rallies seem to have adversely affected the Congress as an opinion poll conducted by India Today, Axis My India, has indicated. According to the poll, BJP will garner 43 to 47 of the total 68 seats in the Himachal Pradesh Assembly. Congress is predicted to win 21-25 seats as compared to the 36 seats it won in 2012 when Virbhadra Singh swore in as Chief Minister for the sixth time. As the majority mark is 35, BJP is expected to form a government in Himachal Pradesh when the results come out on December 18th. It is very important for the Congress to remain in power in Himachal Pradesh as it is one of the few states left in India with a Congress Chief Minister. If Congress fails to control the anti-incumbency mood in the Himachal polls, then PM Modi’s rhetoric of a Congress-Mukt Bharat will take one step closer to reality.
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