Former chief minister Virbhadra Singh ruled people’s hearts and his model of development would once again be implemented in the state if the Congress came to power later this year, said Pratibha Singh as she assumed charge as state Congress president on Thursday.
“The way the Congress defeated the BJP in the by-elections last year, it has to be defeated in the Assembly elections in the same way. For this, everyone will have to unite,” she said.
There was a show of unity as other members of the executive committee took charge with her at the party office. Besides, later, Pradesh Congress Committee president Pratibha, Leader of Opposition Mukesh Agnihotri and campaign committee chairman Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu went in the same vehicle to a rally at Ambedkar Chowk, Chaura Maidan. Senior Congress leaders Kaul Singh Thakur, Ramlal Thakur and former PCC chief Kuldeep Rathore resolved to stay united for the elections.
In-charge of state party affairs Rajiv Shukla sought to drive home the Congress unity. “All the leaders are present on the stage, which makes it clear that the Congress party is completely one and it will come together in the upcoming elections,” he said.
Asserting that the next government in the state will be of the Congress, Shukla said that Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi have entrusted the new state Congress president with a responsibility of forming Congress government in the state. Pratibha, Mukesh Agnihotri, Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu and Colonel Dhaniram Shandil would have the collective responsibility of the Congress.
The last wish of the late Virbhadra Singh, Shukla said, was that the Congress government be formed again in the state. Senior Congress leader and former Union minister Pandit Sukh Ram too wants that the Congress government should be formed once again in the state.
The state party incharge made it clear that the party high command and the winning MLAs will decide the name of the chief minister after the elections.
Addressing the rally, Pratibha said that the double-engine government had made the life of the common people difficult. Prices of pulses, oil, salt, cooking gas are all rising continuously. Petrol and diesel prices too are increasing every day and it is affecting the lives of the common people. She said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said in 2014 that his government would give employment to two crore people every year. By that yardstick, 16 crore youths should have got employment in eight years of this government, but the opposite has happened. The BJP government of the state has also failed to provide employment.
Earlier, president of campaign committee Sukhu said that the Congress would fight for changing the system, not for changing power in the state.
Expressing concern over the increasing debt, he said that today every citizen of the state has got a debt of Rs 1 lakh. The unemployment figure in the state has crossed 11 lakh. Development is taking place in two Assembly constituencies only, Siraj and Dharampur, he alleged.
Sukhu said that Jai Ram Thakur is a puppet Chief Minister while all decisions are taken at the Centre. The BJP leaders and ministers are involved in corruption in the state. The CM will have to answer why Rajiv Bindal was removed from the post of state BJP President.
On this occasion, Leader of Opposition Agnihotri said that the Jai Ram government runs not only from Delhi but also from Jaipur and Nagpur. In fact, this government runs from many places. Now, this government is running from place to place as it is sure to go and the Congress government is sure to come.
Agnihotri announced that the Congress would restore the old pension scheme on coming to power. He said that the Jai Ram government is inflicting atrocities on the employees like the Shanta Kumar government of the BJP had done in the past. The Congress will take back all the cases that have been made against the people in the state on political grounds, if they come to power.
There is no fight over who will become the CM in the Congress. First, the MLAs will have to come out victorious and this figure should be between 35 and 38, then someone will become the CM, the Leader of Opposition said. He alleged that CM Jai Ram and his ministers were linked with the mafia.
MLA Ram Lal Thakur said that there is a BJP government at the Centre and in the state. In such a situation, the Congress has to remain united.
Another senior leader, Kaul Singh Thakur, said that everyone has to take a pledge of solidarity and strengthen the Congress. Former PCC president Rathore said that he will be ready to support the new president wherever he is needed.