Modi is country's only choice for a decisive leadership in this polls: Himachal CM
Five-time MLA Jai Ram Thakur took-over as Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh in 2017. More than an year in power and Lok Sabha elections around the corner, Ashwani Sharma, Assistant Editor, Millennium Post spoke to him at Shimla on BJP's prospective in the poll.
The BJP had won the Assembly polls getting 44 of total 68 assembly seats. How much changed has happened in Himachal Pradesh in terms of governance?
Things have changed much. During all these months, I tried to visit all assembly constituencies, few of these even twice and thrice. Since I was new to the job as Chief Minister, I wanted to know the people and also gave an opportunity to the people to interact with me, and also understand my way of working and my vision. We took some of innovative decisions and that had massive impact.
Do you feel you are fully settled to the job?
I was in the active public life already and MLA for past 20 years. I'be been BJP's state president and a minister also. I may have been chosen Chief Minister first time but I was an experienced hand so to say. I enjoy confidence and support of every BJP worker and leader.
Which are main areas, where you feel, having made a difference as Chief Minister?
Many of the initiatives of my government have been well received by the masses. Beside, several welfare schemes like hike in the social security pensions for all senior citizens above 70 years, benefits to government employees, farmers, women and other deprived sections have been largely appreciated. There is no victimisation of any kind done so far. We did not also file cases against political opponents. I have consciously chosen a new way to governance and services delivery.
But, now the Lok Sabha polls have been announced. How is the mood of the people?
People are very happy with the government. We have made a honest beginning. Several promises made by the party during the 2017 polls have also been fulfilled. There were 28 new schemes launched in the current year's budget. All have been implemented. More than a 12 new schemes have again been announced in the 2019-20 budget. There is no anti-incumbency or anger against the BJP or its governments, including the centre.
During 2014 polls, the BJP swept all four Lok Sabha seats mainly because of Modi factor. The five –year of the NDA under Modi will be facing a test when people go to vote.
We want the people to vote on the performance of the NDA government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The country has become more stronger, and has progressed fast under him. India's Image has got a big boost internationally. The latest Air force strike at militants camp at Balakot has given a strong message about Modi being a decisive leader, who can teach Pakistan a lesson.
You feel action of the Indian Airforce will be an issue in the polls, so to say in Himachal Pradesh.
The people of India in general and Himachal Pradesh in particular have commended the action of the Indian Air Force /Indian Army. The forces were given free hand by Prime Minister after Pulwama attack. Himaachal Pradesh has a large number of brave jawans serving the India army and para-military forces. Their families at home have seen how Prime Minister took a call to give a befitting answer to Pakistan after Uri incident and now Pulwama. There was sense of pride.
The Congress in Himachal Pradesh says it will all four seats. There is anti-Modi sentiment unlike pro-Modi wave in 2014.
The Congress is living in fool's paradise. Modi wave has consolidated in the country this time. The Congress has no legs to stand on its own. There is no leader in the Congress, who can carry forward the party. Thus, they are falling back to Nehru Gandhi family. The Congress is leaderless, visionless and issueless . There is infighting, factionalism and divide in Himachal Pradesh.
Don't you feel "mahagathbandan" will be a challenge to the BJP?
(Laughs) Modi is country's only choice for a decisive leadership in this poll.