Reported By:| Edited By: DNA Web Team |Source: PTI |Updated: Apr 14, 2022, 03:28 PM IST
Having tasted success in the recent Assembly elections, the BJP and the AAP are looking to repeat their strong showing in the Himachal Pradesh polls due later this year while the Congress, having swept the 2021 state bypolls, is hoping for a turnaround after a string of poll losses. BJP national president Jagat Prakash Nadda, Aam Aadmi Party leaders Arvind Kejriwal and Bhagwant Mann, and Congress leader Rajiv Shukla recently visited Himachal Pradesh as part of preparations for the state polls.
Kejriwal is scheduled to visit Kangra on April 23. The ruling BJP hopes to retain power in the hill state, as it did in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa last month. State BJP president and Shimla MP Suresh Kashyap told PTI that his party will tell voters about the development work carried out by the state government and the Centre. The BJP has given clean governance to the nation and the state, and both its governments are working with zero tolerance towards corruption, he said.
Kashyap said the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre launched the biggest ration distribution scheme ‘Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana’ during the COVID-19 pandemic and it has been extended till September this year. The Modi government has distributed 759 metric tonnes of free ration to 80 crore beneficiaries. In Himachal Pradesh, the Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur-led government has distributed this ration to eight lakh beneficiaries so far, he said.
Be it the administration of 185 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses, surgical strikes in Pakistan, or evacuation of 23,000 Indians from war-torn Ukraine, the Modi government worked with determination in every field, he added. Kashyap further said that Nadda’s recent visit to the state infused new energy in BJP workers. Nadda was on a three-day visit to his home state from April 9 and attended various organisational and public programmes. He also held a roadshow in Shimla on the first day of his visit. This was Nadda’s first state tour after the BJP put up an impressive show in the recent Assembly polls in five states, winning four of them.
The Congress, which faced a drubbing in the Assembly polls in the five states, is hoping to wrest power from the BJP and arrest its shrinking footprint. State Congress president Kuldeep Singh Rathore told PTI that his party will raise issues of unemployment and inflation as part of its election campaign. The people of Himachal Pradesh are fed up with the “anti-public” policies of the BJP government due to which unemployment and inflation have increased greatly in the country, he claimed. Rathore said the Congress won all three Assembly seats of Fatehpur, Arki and Jubbal-Kotkhai and the Mandi Lok Sabha seat that went to bypolls on October 30 last year as the people of the state voted on issues of unemployment and price rise.
This is why the Congress will raise these issues in its Assembly election campaign. The party will wrest power from the BJP in the state, he asserted. However, the AAP, which is looking to make inroads into Himachal Pradesh after its resounding victory in the Punjab polls, dismissed any challenge from the Congress. State AAP spokesperson Gaurav Sharma said the Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections will be a direct contest between his party and the BJP.
The AAP will contest the elections on the issue of corruption and providing better infrastructure for schools and hospitals in the state, Sharma told PTI. He exuded confidence that the AAP will form the government in the state, as it did in neighbouring Punjab. On April 6, AAP national convenor Arvind Kejriwal and Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann held a roadshow here and urged people to vote for the party in the Assembly polls if they want to rid the state of corruption. Kejriwal claimed his party first eradicated corruption in Delhi, and Mann’s government wiped out corruption from Punjab within 20 days of coming to power.