Himachal BJP relies on PM to deliver votes

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The Bharatiya Janata Party is poised to approach voters in Himachal Pradesh once again with its narrative of a “twin-powered sarkar”, in which the center favors states governed by the same party. And by now it is pretty clear that it is the engine in New Delhi and not the state that should get the train to its destination.

This became evident when Prime Minister Narendra Modi sounded the party bugle during his address to the public in Shimla on May 31. who is due to go to the polls with his home state of Gujarat this winter.

The party’s effort to return to government in Himachal will require a Herculean effort for several reasons. For starters, the state, with its highly literate and politically aware electorate, has a tradition of alternating between the BJP and Congress. It offers little room for caste or religious polarization, which has been worked to the BJP’s advantage in several states over the past few years. Then there is the anti-incumbency faced by the state government led by Jai Ram Thakur, particularly on the issues of unemployment and inflation coupled with the scandals that are blowing up in his face. There is also the fact that Congress is moving forward under collective leadership.

Even so, the BJP has to its advantage a highly effective micromanagement network down to locality levels. Moreover, the party has its national chairman JP Nadda hailing from the hill state which has also been Modi’s professional ground in the past.

That the party will rely heavily on Modi’s charisma and demands for central government projects as well as nationally crafted narratives on issues such as national security was evident in Modi’s speech on Tuesday. He played central initiatives hard while launching a frontal attack on Congress, giving the impression that until he took office in 2014, nothing had gone well for the country. Needless to say, he hasn’t said a word about issues like spiraling inflation or the police recruitment scam that continue to dominate headlines in the state.

Modi lamented that before 2014, the previous government viewed corruption as an essential part of the system. Instead of fighting corruption, the government had succumbed to it as the country watched as money allocated to various programs was plundered before it could reach the needy. He said the “trinity of Jan Dhan, Aadhaar and mobile” had now ensured that the money reached beneficiaries directly into their Jan Dhan bank accounts.

He further claimed that his government removed some 9 crore of “false beneficiaries” drawing benefits from various schemes and plugged a loss of Rs 2.25 lakh crore.

He said, “I am prime minister when I sign a file. The moment it is done, I become a member of the 130 crore Indian family. I am their pradhan sevak” (chief servant).

He claimed other achievements under the Ujjwala program which provides LPG gas connections to every home, claimed to have freed India from open defecation, expanded health benefits under the Aayushman Bharat grant for private health insurers, and repeated his program to provide every household with tap water.

Modi praised Jai Ram Thakur’s government, saying it was the first to administer both rounds of vaccine doses in the country. He observed that Baddi’s pharmaceutical hub had played a major role in providing drugs believed to fight the coronavirus disease.

Addressing the all-important segment of ex-military voters in the state, he claimed that the BJP government had implemented the “One Rank One Pension” scheme and given away all arrears due to veterans.

Prior to his speech, Modi had addressed the ‘Garib Kalyan Sammelan’ (poor welfare convention) from the same venue held in state capitals, district headquarters and Krishi Vigyan Kendras across the country. He also released the eleventh installment of the Rs 6,000 annual benefit under the PM-KISAN scheme which he said had transferred Rs 21,000 crore to more than 10 crore farming families in the country.

Chief Minister Thakur on his part claimed that Himachal benefited from the benevolence of Modi having secured central benefits worth more than Rs 10,000 crore in the last four and a half years. He said that the special status of the state had been restored thanks to which he now received financial assistance in a ratio of 90:10 for various central schemes.

Meanwhile, opposition parties and some segments of voters said Modi disappointed them by not announcing any new packages or incentives for the state while remaining silent on all broken promises made over the past few years. last eight years.

Former Shimla mayor and CPM leader Sanjay Chauhan said: “He had talked about reducing inflation, creating two million jobs, a minimum support price for each crop and increasing the import duties on apples at 100% in 2014. This was not mentioned in his speech. marking eight years in power. The crises of unemployment, inflation, agriculture and horticulture remain at their peak.

State Congress Speaker Pratibha Singh accused Modi of once again disappointing the people of Himachal. She said that beneficiaries of government programs were forcibly mobilized for the program organized in Shimla, and stressed that the rights of government programs are the rights of all eligible people. Using them for political purposes and making them public violated their right to privacy. “It’s their right, not handouts,” Singh said.

Sources say the BJP will adopt the dual strategy of getting its central leadership to bombard the political field of the state near the polls as it has done in neighboring Uttarakhand, and asking the electorate to vote for it. its main ideological commitments.

The party is currently under fire for delaying the Shimla Municipal Corporation elections, the police recruitment scam and other scams like the issuing of thousands of fake diplomas by a private university. Such things were unknown in the state before.

With an Aam Aadmi Party rookie also throwing his hat in the ring, the upcoming polls will add a new dimension to the traditional battle between Congress and the BJP.

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