Party leadership must decide on CM candidate: Dhumal

Prem Kumar Dhumal   | Photo Credit: Akhilesh Kumar

As the Bharatiya Janata Party makes a bid to return to power in Himachal Pradesh, party leader and former Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal says that since everyone cannot land a government job, promoting self-employment will be a key priority if the BJP forms a government in the State.

“We are very clear that everybody cannot be provided government jobs. We said that we would create job opportunities in tourism and other sectors and also promote self-employment so that not only job-seekers but also job providers are there. Suppose somebody gets self-employed, he can employ three or four people around him,” Mr. Dhumal said in an interaction with The Hindu at his residence here on Monday.

Asked why the party had not announced a chief ministerial candidate yet, Mr. Dhumal said it was decision left to the national leadership and he had little power over it. “They [party leadership] will do the right thing at the right time. I think they will announce it at the proper time,” he said.

The absence of a chief ministerial candidate, something similar to what the BJP did during elections in States such as Uttar Pradesh, has led to the floating of the names of Mr. Dhumal and Union Minister J.P. Nadda.

Asked if the delay in announcement would hurt the prospects of the party, Mr. Dhumal said: “I think it is for the high command to take a view.”

Poor finances

He said corruption, law and order and lack of development work were going to be the main campaign issues for the BJP. “The financial position is very bad. The State is in a very bad condition. It will take time to bring it on the rails again,” he said.

Asked why the party had not gone ahead with legal action on corruption charges it had made against Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, Mr. Dhumal said, “This shows that the NDA government never interferes with the working of the agencies. Secondly, the judicial system is there and three or four days ago, the Supreme Court has rejected his appeal against the Delhi High Court. So, now I think the agencies will proceed accordingly.”

As for whether or not the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax is a concern for businessmen in the State, Mr. Dhumal said, “Not at all. Our well-wishers had come to me and they wanted to know our stand. First they wanted the composition fee to be raised from ₹75 lakh to ₹1 crore. It has been raised. They were mostly disturbed because of the monthly returns they were supposed to file. It has also been allowed to file quarterly returns. The third issue is with the State as Mr. Arun Jaitley also told us — I had promised that if other States had ₹20 lakh [the turnover up to which there is GST exemption], we will also raise it to ₹20 lakh if we come to power.”

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Printable version | May 5, 2021 6:39:04 AM |

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