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Tuesday, December 07, 2021

Pratibha’s pitch: badlav, tribute to Raja Sahab, and farm protest

Addressing a gathering during her poll campaign in Patlikuhal in Kullu district, Pratibha Singh calls Modi government as “andhi, behri, goongi aur tanashah sarkaar.

Written by Navjeevan Gopal | Kullu |
October 28, 2021 8:33:04 am
In her speeches, she countered BJP allegations of being a non-performer during her earlier two stints as MP. (Photo: Navjeevan)

The issue of ongoing farm agitation against BJP-led central government on three agri laws is being raised by Congress nominee from Mandi parliamentary constituency Pratibha Singh who accuses Prime Minister Narendra Modi of being oblivious and having “closed his both ears” to the demands of the peasantry.

Addressing a gathering during her poll campaign in Patlikuhal in Kullu district, Pratibha Singh calls Modi government as “andhi, behri, goongi aur tanashah sarkaar (blind, deaf, mute and autocratic government)” as she refers to “yearlong farm protest at Delhi borders”.

Batting for minimum support price for apples grown in the state, Pratibha points out that the fruit growers had to sell their produce at lesser prices. “PM Modi has closed his both ears. The voices of farmers, horticulturists, of the unemployed youth and against inflation have not reached his ears nor he wants to discuss these,” says Pratibha, underlining the need for a “badlaav” (change).

“In takleefon ko dekhte hue, is awaaz ko dilli tak pahunchana hoga (Keeping in view these problems, you will have to elect me),” she tells the voters, adding that “if you elect me, PM Modi will be forced to ponder over the reasons why BJP could not win Mandi seat”.

In a quick switch, she then seeks votes in the name of her late husband and former chief minister Virbhadra Singh. “I have another request to make. Raja sahib ki aatma upar dev lok se dekh rahi hogi (He must be watching from heavens). He served people for 60 years considering them as part of family and without any discrimination. He must be watching that when he is not around, will people support his party,” says Pratibha, making an appeal to poll every single vote in favour of Congress to pay tribute to Virbhadra Singh.

And Pratibha appears succeeding in striking an emotional chord. “It will be shardhanjali (tribute) to Virbhadra in this particular election and this is what people are talking about in this election,” says Puneet, a sports good dealer in Bashing in Kullu district.

Pratibha tells electors that when Virbhadra was unwell, Congress workers urged her to contest, but she refused as she was looking after her husband. After his demise, she added, they again urged her to contest. “I agreed after they said doors of my house will not close for them if I contest,” adds Pratibha.

In her speeches, she countered BJP allegations of being a non-performer during her earlier two stints as MP. She talks about raising the issue of Rohtang tunnel with then PM Manmohan Singh, “who gave first instalment of Rs 1355 crore when the tunnel was to be started”.

She hits out at Modi saying that when he inaugurated the tunnel, it was named after Atal Bihari Vajpayee and even the foundation stone laid by Congress president Sonia Gandhi was removed. She then credits herself for pursuing opening of “Nerchowk Medical College, IIT in Drang constituency and making water available to the people round the clock.” She adds, “Hundreds of such works were completed during my stint as MP.”

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