Modi remains the biggest factor for 2019 polls: Jai Ram Thakur
Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur will be completing his one year in power this month. His rise to state's top slot is seen as a generational change in the BJP politics. Thakur spoke to Ashwani Sharma, Assistant Editor, Millennium Post at Shimla on his government and state politics.
Excerpts from Interview:
Your government will be completing one year this month. What's has really changed in Himachal Pradesh?
My becoming of Chief Minister was a generational change in the state's politics. I have tried to do things differently. Old vendetta politics pursued by the Congress mainly Virbhadra Singh has been put to an end. He had framed dozens of false cases against the BJP leaders, including former CM Prem Kumar Dhumal. Not even a single case stood the test of the judicial scrutiny. I have chosen to focus my mind only on development and public welfare.
Which means the government will not act on the BJP's charge-sheet on alleged corruption during the Congress government?
Yes. There is BJP 'charge-sheet' in my hand. It's the biggest political weapon against the Congress leaders for their wrongdoings. But, I believe this generational change is also an opportunity to change the political narrative in the peaceful, gentle and well-performing state.
But the Congress is already preparing a charge sheet against your government?
The generational change is also an opportunity to make new beginnings instead flogging a dead horse. Seriously, the Congress mindset hasn't changed. But, if they decide to go ahead with their premeditated mind, I also reserve my right to reply befittingly. I am not going to hold back on the BJP charge-sheet, it's very simple.
Can you share some specific achievements of your government during past one year?
We have the biggest success in implementing –Jan Manch, a monthly public outreach programme. I got Rs 6,500 crore worth projects related to irrigation, drinking water, roads, environment, and climate change and tourism sanctioned by the centre. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked me to come out with specific projects to get funding. Public trust in the government has been restored. I can feel it myself as I have already toured 62 or 63 Assembly constituencies, out of 68.
Is it fact the RSS is calling the shots in the government?
This is a Congress propaganda. The RSS has no role to play in the government. The governance is my responsibility. They never interfere, instead guide us on ideological matters. I respect RSS and their working, which is a source of our political grooming and discipline.
Problem of drug abuse among youths, almost like Punjab is a new challenge. How are you trying to cope up with the issue?
A/ The problem is far more serious even what we have been experiencing now. I have tried to engage myself with Chief Ministers of adjoining states including Punjab for a collective war against drug mafia. We have decided to amend the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPC) Act. There will harsher punishments for anyone engaged in drug trafficking. They will not get any bail if arrested.
Are you making some efforts to attract new investments?
Yes. The government has decided to organise a two-day Global Investors meet on June 10 and 11 at Dharamshala, on the lines of Uttarakhand. We will hard sell the state's potential in sectors like tourism, hospitality, pharmaceutical, MSME, IT, health, herbal products, horticulture, biotechnology, food processing, and education.
You credited PM Narendra Modi for BJP's return to power in 2017. The exit polls from three BJP-ruled states show a different pulse.
Whatever may be the outcome of the polls in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh, I can tell you Modi ji will remain a factor in the 2019 Lok Sabha poll. People of the country want him. The NDA will form the next government at the centre.