Himachal Pradesh 2017

We are riding on State government’s achievements: Virbhadra Singh

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh  

Six-time Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh says his achievements as the head of the government are his main campaign theme for the November 9 Assembly elections. He denies thatthe State government had asked the Centre to set a lower GST exemption limit for Himachal Pradesh, saying no State would want extra burden on its people.

What are the main issues being raised by the Congress during this election?

We are fighting these polls on the achievements we have made. I have been Chief Minister for many terms, and the Congress in these periods has done tremendous work in the fields of education, agriculture, horticulture and medical facilities. In all walks of life, the achievements made by this government have been acknowledged by the Central government also. In the field of education, for instance, though we are a small State, we are considered [to be competitive] with the big States.

The Centre has said that the State government has asked for the lower Goods and Services Tax exemption limit of ₹10 lakh in Himachal Pradesh. Would you like to respond to this?

I don’t think there is any State in India that will ask for [extra] GST to be imposed.

It has been done arbitrarily, unilaterally by the Centre.

The BJP has finally announced Prem Kumar Dhumal as its chief ministerial candidate. How do you think it can affect the coming polls?

It does not affect the polls at all.

What is your opinion about the Union government after three-and-a-half years of its rule?

To be very frank, I don’t think their achievements are very much. They are surviving on propaganda.

They are far away from the realities.

You have also faced accusation of corruption from the BJP. Any response?

They have been witch-hunting. If the Chief Minister of a non-BJP State is powerful and popular, they try to run him down.

They try to implicate the Chief Minister in false cases. I am myself a target of this. In my case, it was basically a small income tax matter and now the income tax people are after it, the Enforcement Directorate is after it and the CBI is after it. The same thing!

All my personal bank accounts are frozen. I am not a businessman. Whatever I have is ancestral property — something I inherited from my ancestors.

During the release of the BJP’s vision document, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley raised the Kashmir issue, attacking senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram’s pitch for greater autonomy there. He said Himachal Pradesh was a State of patriotic people who would not accept this. What do you have to say?

The Kashmir issue is unrelated to us. Kashmir is a national issue. Different aspects of it are there and we are satisfied with what we have. I think the Constitution has given ample powers and ample guarantees to the States.

We don’t want anything beyond it. The question of Jammu and Kashmir is entirely different.

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Apr 20, 2021 9:58:05 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/himachal-pradesh-2017/virbhadra-singh-interview-we-are-riding-on-state-governments-achievements/article19962706.ece

Next Story