Himachal Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh on Sunday said the Congress should have projected its prime ministerial candidate for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls as it would have helped the party to counter BJP’s Narendra Modi more effectively.
Yet, he does not see any chance of Modi becoming the Prime Minister as he lacks “collective confidence and trust” of the people, unlike “Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who was truly a statesman and a respected political figure”.
“The new trend is that the people vote for a person, judge him on the basis of his work, struggle and mass appeal. This is what happens in America. A pan-India image is what the people see when they go to vote,” the CM said, adding that Congress initially had thought of projecting its prime ministerial candidate, but later it chose to stick to its tradition of leaving it to the MPs to elect the leader.
Hitting out at Modi, Virbhadra said: “Modi has not been elected collectively by the BJP as its the prime ministerial choice. He pushed aside those who deserved the position and forced a BJP coterie to name him. Modi has finished the BJP and now he will finish the country if he becomes the prime minister. But he never will.”
“Vajpayee was a very pragmatic leader and enjoyed goodwill across the country. Where can we find leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Indira Gandhi and Vajpayee? They graced the PM’s chair. Modi will be a disaster and his Gujarat model is a flop show,” he added.
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On Himachal, Virbhadra said the Congress will win all four seats. “The only seat where Congress has been losing is Hamirpur. This time, we have given the ticket to most suitable person, Rajinder Rana. I faced opposition from leaders like Sukhwinder Sukhu (PCC president). But he too had no one to suggest who was better than Rana. I have spent a week in Hamirpur and Rana is in the winning position. Our position in Shimla is also good.”
Attacking former CM Prem Kumar Dhumal for allegedly spreading rumours about the Congress government being on its away out, the CM said: “This is a joke. There is an attempt to confuse the people. As long as I enjoy the faith and confidence of the people, no one can dislodge an elected government. Dhumal should stop issuing threats. He need to read the Constitution.”
On alleged vendetta charges, Virbhadra said Dhumal presided over corruption and misused power to promote his son’s cricket ambitions.
“The Vigilance has filed a chargesheet after investigation into HPCA irregularities and Dhumal should face trial. Doesn’t he remember how cases were fabricated against me during both his tenures? I have come out clean and if Dhumal hasn’t done any wrong, why is he making so much noise?” he asked.