Campaigning Ends In Himachal, Over To Voters Now

Campaigning Ends In Himachal, Over To Voters Now

New Delhi: The Congress and the BJP on Thursday wound up their assembly poll campaigns for Himachal Pradesh, which saw high profile leaders descending on it with promises that ranged from implementation of a common civil code to scooters for college-going women.

The Bharatiya Janata Party, which is contesting to return to power in the Jai Ram Thakur-led state, scored on bringing in the big names. Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited twice, addressing a series of rallies – the last two on Wednesday.

Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi, who is busy leading a Bharat Jodo Yatra, has skipped campaigning in the state. But Priyanka Gandhi Vadra made up for him to an extent.

Her last rally was held in Sirmaur, just hours before electioneering closed at 5 pm – as mandated by the Election Commission. For the BJP, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and party president J P Nadda were among those addressed public meetings on the last day of the campaign.

Polling for the 68 assembly constituencies takes place on Saturday. Counting of votes is on December 8.

In the outgoing assembly, the ruling BJP holds 43 states. The state has alternated between the Congress and the BJP in every election since 1982 – and the opposition party says it is its “turn” now.

If that happens it would be a morale booster for the party that has lost state after state since the BJP came to power at the Centre in 2014.

Apart from this Himachal “rivaj” (convention) of booting out the incumbent each time, the opposition party is counting on the apparent dissatisfaction over the BJP government’s implementation of the new pension scheme.

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In its 52-page election manifesto, the Congress promised a return to the old pension scheme (OPS), which costs the government much more.

Taking a leaf out of the Aam Aadmi Party’s book – Arvind Kejriwal’s Party too hopes to make a dent in the state – the Congress manifesto also offered 300 units of free electricity. The party has assured a Rs 1,500 per month stipend to women aged between 18 and 60.

The BJP manifesto released by party president J P Nadda promised bringing in a Uniform Civil Code and 33 per cent reservation for women in government jobs and educational institutions.

Nadda promised creation of 8 lakh jobs, including the government ones, bicycles for girl students in classes six to 12 and scooters for girls in colleges.

But more than anything, the party is banking on Narendra Modi.

“Today, under Modi ji’s leadership, the Indian economy is at the fifth position in the world. The day is not far when India’s economy will be among the top three countries in the world,” Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said at a rally.

At his rally in Solan, the PM himself appeared to make the same point, suggesting that voters don’t need to remember the names of the candidates. Only recalling the party’s lotus symbol was needed.

“Wherever you see the symbol of ’lotus’ it means it’s the BJP and that Modi ji has come to you,” he said.

(This report has been published as part of the auto-generated syndicate wire feed. No editing has been done in the headline or the body by ABP Live.)