Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Monday said the BJP’s ”double engine” government was there in Himachal Pradesh for the last five years but it probably forgot to fill fuel in it, as she sought to corner the ruling party on the issues of unemployment and the old pension scheme.
Addressing a rally here ahead of the assembly polls, she also hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his remarks that changing medicines frequently neither helps in curing the ailment nor benefits anyone, saying people are being told that they are sick and must keep having the old medicine.
Making a strong pitch for a change of government in the state, she said that if the Congress comes to power it will approve 1 lakh jobs and return to the old pension scheme in the first cabinet meeting itself.
”Elections come every five years so what is the big deal, remember, these polls will decide your future. Why are people not getting the old pension scheme when they are getting it in Congress-ruled states, think about it,” Gandhi said.
”The BJP leaders come and say ‘vote for us, you will get a double engine government’, where were they for five years, it (double engine) was there for the last five years also, probably they forgot to fill fuel in the engine,” she said taking a dig at the BJP’s ‘double engine’ pitch. Double engine is a term often used by BJP leaders to refer to the party ruling in the Centre and in the state.
Attacking the BJP on the issue of unemployment, Gandhi said the government’s first responsibility is to ensure employment but despite the BJP being in power in the state and at the Centre, 63,000 posts are vacant in Himachal.
”Why these posts were not filled up. We will take a decision to give 1 lakh jobs in our first cabinet. They (BJP) say this is not possible, how did we manage to do it in Chhattisgarh. Today unemployment rate is the lowest in that state because our government has given five lakh jobs in the last three years,” the Congress general secretary said while addressing a public meeting in support of Congress Legislature Party leader Mukesh Agnihotri here.
In Rajasthan, the Congress government has given 1.3 lakh jobs but here 63,000 posts are vacant, Gandhi said.
”Youth here are talented and educated but their aspirations are not being fulfilled. Use of intoxicating substances is being spread,” she said.
Slamming the BJP over the Agnipath military recruitment scheme, Gandhi claimed that while earlier about 4,000 people used to be recruited from Himachal, now only 500 will go into the armed forces, out of which 75 per cent will come back.
”They (BJP) will say anything to stay in power but they forget after polls…Teach them a lesson that election will not be won on money,” Gandhi told the people.
Hitting out at the prime minister’s remarks at a rally in Himachal Pradesh while pitching for another term for the BJP that changing medicines frequently neither helps in curing the ailment nor benefits anyone, Gandhi said, ”You are being told that you are sick and keep having the old medicine”. She urged people not to be ”misled” and bring about a change for a better future for themselves.
”Himachal Pradesh has Rs 70,000 crore debt. There are scams and more scams –in teachers recruitment, PPE kits, police recruitment…and then they say don’t change the medicine,” she said.
”I will not make false promises, go by your own experience. You wanted the old pension scheme, did anyone listen to you. Many leaders from Himachal Pradesh became big leaders in the BJP but did the state progress, they became successful,” she said.
Underlining how hard women work, she also said that a Rs 1,500 allowance per month would be given to them.
”When you search for a groom, you look at the intention of the boy. BJP wants to stay in power at all costs. Do you want a government that gives jobs or takes away jobs, do you want a government that gives OPS or takes it away, do you want a government that wants to reduce prices or increase prices. Don’t be misled, vote for your future, for yourself,” Gandhi said.
Restoration of the old pension scheme, 300 units of free power, a Rs 680-crore StartUp fund, one lakh jobs and Rs 1,500 per month for women between 18 and 60 years are among the promises the Congress made in its manifesto for the Himachal Pradesh polls.
The Congress is banking on the anti-incumbency factor and urging voters not to reelect the BJP in the state. Polling in Himachal Pradesh will be held on November 12 and the counting of votes will take place on December 8.