Even as chief minister, Virbhadra Singh and Congress in-charge for Himachal Pradesh, Sushil Kumar Shinde on Friday reviewed arrangements for Mandi rally to be addressed by the national Congress vice president, Rahul Gandhi on 7 October, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has dubbed it as misuse of public money for Congress show.

In a release, state BJP vice president, Ganesh Dutt said the government machinery was being misused to make the Congress rally a success. “They are doing it under the banner of the government as Congress party has no capacity to hold the rally on its own. The Chairmen and Vice Chairmen are being told to bring people using the government facilities so that the party can show crowds there,” the BJP leader said.

He said that the Himachal Road Transport Corporation (HRTC) buses are being pressed into service for the rally without any payment. He said the government money was being diverted for political gains by Congress.

The BJP leader said the Congress government has named the rally as – ‘Vikas Sey Vijay Ki Aur’. “The reality, however, is that the development works are stuck in Congress tenure. The government has failed on every front. They should rather name the rally ‘Vishvasghat sey prajay ki aur’,” he said.

At Mandi, however, the CM and party leaders from Delhi held meetings with the party men separately for the last minute push and gave them directions to make the rally a success.

It is the first rally by a national Congress leader ahead of Assembly polls in HP. On 3 October, Prime Minister, Narendra Modi had addressed a rally at Bilaspur after laying the foundation stone of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).

Modi’s rally had turned out to be a massive one and since then, the Congress government is under pressure to have a rally of the same size to match the response.