Fought 10 Times, Right To Opt Out Of Race; BJP To Stay For 25 years: Ex CM Dhumal

| Updated: 08 November, 2022 7:25 pm IST

Two time chief minister and father of Union Minister Anurag Thakur, Prem Kumar Dhumal may not be contesting elections in Himachal Pradesh this time around. But he is leaving no stones unturned to ensure BJP’s win and ending the tradition (riwaz) of alternate victories for BJP and Congress in the hill state. Well in his late seventies the BJP veteran’s energy is difficult to match.

The New Indian’s Special Correspondent Alok Singh caught up with the veteran leader during his campaign trail at his home-turf of Hamirpur.

78- year old Dhumal speaks about opting out of the election race, Congress’ unrealistic poll promises and why despite Jairam Thakur being the CM face, it is Prime Minister Narendra Modi who remains at the centre of all election campaigning for the state.

Alok: We are seeing the posters of Narendra Modi everywhere, while Jairam Thakur is your CM face. Why is it so?

Dhumal : It is our fortune that both Atal ji and Modi ji became PM of our country and both of them consider Himachal as their second home. During the tenure of Modi ji, either I was CM or state unit head. He knows each party worker by their name. He has a direct connection with the people of Himachal. He helps the state with open hands. That’s why people trust him and you can see his posters everywhere.

Alok : Why did you not contest the election? Many people wanted you to contest the election.

Dhumal : I have fought elections for ten times. People wanted me to contest this election too. But this was the right time for me to opt out of the race. This might help our party.

Alok : Congress has made promises of financial aid of Rs 15,00 to women and restoration of the Old Pension Scheme. What do you have to say about that?

Dhumal : These all are false promises. Who ended OPS in state? In 2004, when there was rule of Congress in both the state and the centre, they took away the rights of government employees and implemented the New Pension Scheme. Now their promises sound more like ‘chor machaye shor’. They made the same promises before Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh elections too. And after coming to power, they wrote to the centre to give money for this scheme. Promises were made by the state and money was expected from the centre.

Alok : And what about Congress’ promise of financial aid to women?

Dhumal : Congress only lies. I have just told the people that it will cost thousands of crores to give money to women in the state. This is not even the budget of the country. How can they give money to the women of Himachal which is more than the budget of the whole country.

Alok : We cannot ignore the anti-incumbency factor? How confident are you of changing ‘riwaz’?

Dhumal : BJP always makes history. In 1999, BJP contested with Janata Dal. We won and formed the government. In 1998, we fought without any ally but formed the government. In 2007 and 2017, it was the BJP party government all by itself. Under the mission repeat, we will again form the government and come to power.

Alok : That’s why it has been said “riwaz” badalna hai?

Answer : Yes it was a riwaz.  But BJP will break this trend and like in Gujarat, my party will rule in Himachal for 20 to 25 years.

Alok : Gujarat elections are also happening with Himachal. How many seats will the BJP get?

Dhumal : Surveys have already started coming. And what I feel this time BJP will again form the government with 131 to 136 seats in Gujarat. Yesterday, Modi ji said we will get the support of people for 32 years. In recently concluded bye -elections BJP has won a majority of seats across the country.

Alok : Tomorrow Modi ji is coming to Hamirpur. What will you ask from him for the people of Himachal?

Dhumal : Whenever he comes, he makes some announcement. Last time we demanded ‘One rank One Pension’ and he gave. Tomorrow we will offer him our gratitude and also promise him BJP’s victory in the state.

Alok : Lastly, how many seats for the BJP in Himachal?

Dhumal: I want the victory in all 68 seats.

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