Other States

Congress says BJP’s claims failed in Himachal Pradesh

With elections to four urban municipal bodies in Himachal Pradesh all set to be held on party symbols for the first time next month, the polls are being seen by the Opposition Congress as a “critical test” to ascertain the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government’s performance ahead of Assembly polls, due next year in 2022.

Out of five municipal corporations in Himachal Pradesh, elections to four of them, including Solan, Palampur, Dharamshala and Mandi, will be held on April 7. The fifth — the Shimla Municipal Corporation — for which elections were held in year 2017, will not go to polls with the others.

This will be the first time that the elections to these four municipal corporations will be held on party symbols — this comes after Himachal Pradesh state Assembly in the recently concluded budget session passed a bill seeking to amend HP Municipal Corporation Act, 1994 and Himachal Pradesh Municipal Corporation Elections Rules, 2012.

With political parties flexing their muscles for the electoral battle, senior Congress leader and party general secretary Kewal Singh Pathania, who is spearheading the party’s electoral management for the Solan Municipal Corporation, asserts that the election results would be a referendum on the BJP government’s work. “These polls are a critical test to ascertain the BJP government’s performance ahead of the Assembly polls,” Mr. Pathania told The Hindu on Wednesday.

“Rise in unemployment, poor roads, collapsing heath sector and pitiable development of infrastructure across the State, besides neglect of the hill State by the BJP-led Centre has exposed the tall claims of the BJP... People gave the BJP a chance in the last Assembly polls because the BJP was in power at the Centre, people were expecting development, more jobs, because BJP assured that a ‘double engine’ government [at the Centre and in the State] would be advantageous for rapid development. But after almost three-and-half years in power, the BJP now stands exposed among the masses,” he said.

“Not only this, the Centre’s new farm laws are an attempt to hit the horticulture sector in the State. Horticulturists are anguished with the BJP. On the other hand, the Congress had extended support to the farmers’-horticulturists’ cause, which will not be forgotten by the farming community. The party’s Central leadership and particularly Rahul Gandhi have been campaigning in support of one of the most extensive farmers’ movement in recent times,” he said.

To ensure that the Congress party is united for the upcoming electoral fight, senior Congress leader and former Rajya Sabha MP Viplove Thakur, who is chairperson of the State Congress Disciplinary Committee recently stated that if any leader or office bearer of Congress party and its frontal organisations, etc., worked against the authorised candidate of the party in any of the four municipal elections, strict disciplinary action would be taken.


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Printable version | Jul 6, 2022 10:59:40 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/civic-body-elections-in-himachal-a-test-ahead-of-next-years-assembly-polls-says-congress/article34155935.ece