CONGRESS vice president Rahul Gandhi, for the first time on Thursday, accused former Himachal chief minister and BJP leader Prem Kumar Dhumal of corruption and misuse of power by granting prime government land to Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) — headed by his son Anurag Thakur.
Anurag, a two-time BJP MP, is a candidate from Hamirpur. The state Vigilance and Anti-corruption Bureau recently filed a chargesheet against Dhumal, Anurag and his younger brother Arun Dhumal in the HPCA irregularities case.
While hitting out against BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi for allegedly granting huge benefits to the Adanis, Rahul said what has happened in Himachal Pradesh was not very different. “It’s like zamin sarkari, sampatti hamari (Government land is our property),” he said at a rally in Bilaspur.
Rahul, while joining the state leadership to attack Dhumals, said: “Prime land in Dharamshala, belonging to the state government, was given at a lease of Rs 1 per annum to the cricket body during the BJP regime. Assets worth Rs 250 crore have been created on the property. I need not tell you who has benefited from it… This is the kind of chowkiwar your former CM has been.’’
Urging the people to vote for Congress’ Hamirpur candidate, Rajinder Rana, Rahul said the government in Himachal Pradesh still has four years to go and if Congress is there at the Centre as well, both can work as partners for the state’s development.
“Today, you pick up any consumer good from the market, it is written ‘Made in China’. We, in the Congress, want to empower people and help them become entrepreneurs. There will be goods manufactured in Hamirpur,” he said, assuring the state of industrial development.
Earlier, Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh slammed the BJP for allegedly playing divisive politics, resorting to political vendetta against opponents and running the state’s affairs as a “government of the BJP, for the BJP”.
Himachal Congress president Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu, who also addressed the rally, claimed there was a strong anti-Anurag Thakur wave in Hamirpur as he had done nothing for the constituency. “Your MP was more fond of travelling to Singapore, Dubai and Mumbai. He is used to luxuries and never remained connected to the voters. The people will teach him a lesson. The Congress will win Hamirpur, beside the other three seats in the state,” he said.