Himachal Pradesh will buck the trend of having BJP and Congress governments alternately as the Congress will retain power with a clear majority, AICC general secretary in-charge for the state Sushil Kumar Shinde said here on Tuesday.
As the campaign ended in Himachal Pradesh on Tuesday for the November 9 polls, Shinde voiced confidence that Chief Minister Virabhadra Singh will be ensconced in the top office for the seventh time.
He also hit out at the BJP, saying the party is showing signs of desperation, and claimed Singh’s “pro-development hard work” will bear fruits for the Congress.
He claimed that the “poor show” of the BJP-led central government, particularly its decisions like demonetisation and GST, will work to the Congress’ advantage.
Dismissing reports of bickering within the state Congress, Shinde said his party unit will put up a united show when the state goes to poll. He claimed it is the BJP which is plagued by factionalism.
“The state has seen power changing hands alternately every five years. But now the situation is different. There will be no anti-incumbency factor this time,” Shinde told PTI.
The BJP has set itself a target of bagging 50-plus seats in the 68-member assembly. Shinde, however, refrained from specifying the number of seats the Congress is expecting to bag.
“But we are going to get a clear majority,” he added.
Shinde countered the BJP’s corruption charge against Congress leaders, particularly Chief Minister Singh, alleging that the saffron party is habitual of levelling such allegations.
He said nothing, however, comes out of the BJP’s corruption charges when it gets propelled to power.
He said the number of rallies Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed in teh state showed how “desperate” the NDA major was.
“The stunts by the BJP show they are desperate. Hence, they have been using aggressive language, attacking our leaders,” he added.
In a counter to the BJP’s barb that Singh “is out on bail”, Shinde claimed the saffron party’s chief ministerial nominee, Prem Kumar Dhumal ,”is also out on bail” in a case.
“The BJP announced his (Dhumal’s) name as the chief ministerial nominee sensing they are not going to win the election.
“Naming him as the chief ministerial face has also left supporters of JP Nadda and Shanta Kumar (other senior BJP leaders from the state) disappointed. This will work in our favour,” he added.
Shinde claimed demonetisation and GST have hit the poor in the state hard and that the people from its apple belt, which covers eight assembly segments, are also “disappointed” with the Modi government. Himachal Pradesh is one of the key apple-producing state.
“The prime minister had given an assurance on imposition of import duty on apple. But apple from outside is coming for sale in the markets here. This will have a bearing on the voting in the region,” he added.