As she carries forward the legacy of her late husband and Himachal Congress stalwart Virbhadra Singh, state party chief Pratibha Singh said on Wednesday that she does not harbour any chief ministerial ambitions and the high command will address the CM candidate issue.
In an interview to PTI, the Lok Sabha MP from Mandi claimed that the Congress was comfortably placed in the state, while the campaigning by top BJP leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, showed that the ruling party is “scared” and on on a “weak footing” here.
Noting that Virbhadra Singh’s legacy was the main factor in Himachal and will win them votes on November 12, Pratibha Singh, who is campaigning across the state, said the late chief minister’s connect with the people of Himachal was legendary and he continues to live in their heart.
She claimed there will be no “Modi effect” in the state this time.
Pratibha Singh was also confident about the Congress’ prospects in the wake of what she described as BJP’s “failures” on various fronts including “price rise and joblessness”. “We are comfortably placed. We will win around 45 seats (in the 68-member House),” the Congress leader said.
A nine-time MLA and five-time MP, Virbhadra Singh served as Himachal Pradesh chief minister six times. He passed away in July 2021 at the age of 87.
On the issue of the ruling BJP targeting the Congress over the party having “many” chief ministerial hopefuls, Pratibha Singh said she personally did not nurture any such ambitions.
“I do not hold any big ambitions. I am not a very ambitious person. We feel that we have to do service to the state and service to the people. Let the high command decide what is best for the state. They will do it,” she told PTI.
Pratibha Singh, 66, is a three-time MP and has been active in politics since 2005. She was involved in social work since 1985. Her son Vikramaditya Singh is sitting MLA from Shimla Rural and is contesting again.
“As long as Virbhadra Ji was alive, there was no contender but in his absence, somebody can feel he is senior or should be projected but the party has not projected anyone.” “The people who get elected, their voice will be heard and we have left the decision on the high command… It is for the high command to decide who can provide good governance,” she said.
She said Virbhadra Singh’s legacy will continue to be cherished not just by his family but by the entire state.
“I think that is the main factor. We are going to the people with the Virbhadra model on the works that he has done in the state and the love and affection of people towards him will fetch us votes,” the PCC chief claimed.
She also described the tenure of CM Jairam Thakur as “very disappointing”, saying he had a chance but did not live up to people’s expectations.
“Had he done something for the state, people would have thought of giving him a second chance. But he failed to get any big help from the Centre either on tourism or other fronts. His five-year term was very disappointing,” she said, noting that she prefers not to attack anyone personally or say anything against anyone.
“As far as running the government, he should have definitely remained more firm and I think now people have understood and they would again give a chance to the Congress as it can only deliver,” she noted.
Despite the presence of rebels, Singh claimed that the atmosphere in Himachal is very much in favour of the Congress and people are inclined to form its government this time.
“I feel the BJP is on a weak footing and is a little scared in these elections,” she also said.
On the rebel factor affecting the party prospects, she said some leaders felt they were in a position to win and should have been allotted a party ticket.
“They did not withdraw despite attempts to placate them. Despite that, we are in a favourable condition. There aren’t too many rebels,” she said.
Asked about the BJP’s manifesto, she said people will not buy their promises now as they have come to the Congress which has pledged to give free power, jobs to the unemployed, the Old Pension Scheme and aid to women.
“The people are very upset with the failures of the BJP, be it price rise, unemployment, and that is why they have brought the Congress forward and are in a mood to elect the Congress this time,” she claimed.
“I don’t think the people will buy what the BJP has to say now and it will have any effect,” she noted.
To a query on impact of ‘Modi wave’, she said, “I don’t think there will be any effect of Modi in Himachal this time.
“People have tried and tested it and seen that nothing has happened. Modi ji has visited so many times here but he has not talked about price rise or unemployment and about waiving the debt burden of Rs 77000 crore on the state.” Asked about her message to people ahead of voting, she said the Congress has done good work in Himachal Pradesh whenever it was in the government and people have faith that the Congress will deliver this time too.
Election to 68-member Himachal Pradesh Assembly will be on November 12 and the results will be out on December 8.
(This story is published as part of the auto-generated syndicate wire feed. No editing has been done in the headline or the body by ABP Live.)