The BJP’s development claims in Himachal Pradesh are ”hollow” and the people have made up their mind to bring the grand old party to power in the state, senior Congress leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda said on Wednesday. The former Haryana chief minister has been campaigning in Himachal’s Kullu-Manali and Lahaul area ahead of the November 12 assembly polls.
The state has a history of alternating between the Congress and the BJP every assembly election since 1982.
Chief Minister Jairam Thakur said on Monday that the Congress may be banking on Himachal’s ‘riwaz’ (convention) but people have made up their mind to break from tradition this time and bring back the Bharatiya Janata Party to accelerate development.
Hooda, however, said it is the voice of common people who are saying ‘riwaz nahi raj badlega’ (government will change, not convention) and the BJP government will be voted out in the elections.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had to campaign in Chief Minister Jairam Thakur’s home district Mandi, ”which indicates this government is feeling shaky,” he said.
Hooda said people have made up their mind to bring the Congress to power in the state.
”There is good response in favour of the Congress. I interacted with a cross-section of people including shopkeepers, women and cultivators. Every section is unhappy with their policies,” Hooda told PTI.
In the last five years, the Jairam Thakur government did not get big projects for the state, he said. ”Development is not visible on the ground as they claim. The government’s development claims are hollow. This has been a non-performing government,” he said.
He said the Old Pension Scheme, which the Congress has restored in the states ruled by the party, will be implemented on coming to power in Himachal.
”Besides, there are burning issues like unemployment, inflation, there are issues faced by apple growers. Cost of input has increased manifold, but they are not getting remunerative price,” Hooda said.
”Hoteliers say their work was affected during Covid period, but they did not get any relief. Similarly, there are issues faced by taxi drivers. Tourism significantly contributes to Himachal’s economy, but the government here is not sensitive to the concerns of various stakeholders,” he said.
Hooda said in some villages in Manali area where he campaigned for the Congress candidates, there was encouraging response from the people including women.
”The Congress has promised Rs 1,500 per month to women aged between 18 and 60. Besides, our party has promised several initiatives for their empowerment,” he said.