Setting aside their differences,former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal and veteran BJP leader Shanta Kumar shared the stage for the first time since the Assemby elections,when their animosity resurfaced,at a party rally in Mandis historic Seri Manch on Saturday,ahead of the Parliamentary byelection.
The two leaders spoke in unison on the NDAs larger national agenda to oust the Congress-led UPA government from the Centre in 2014 Lok Sabha elections and projected the Mandi byelection as a step in that direction. The duo were greeted by an impressive crowd that came to witness the inauguration of the BJPs campaign for the June 23 byelection after sitting MLA Jairam Thakur filed his nomination papers on Saturday.
The feuding BJP stalwarts come together two days after the Congress set the ball rolling by showcasing its strength on Thursday,when Chief Minister Virbhadra Singhs wife,Pratibha Singh,filed her nominations as the party candidate.
As the BJPs top leaders converged on Mandi for the partys first mega poll rally,Dhumal cautioned party workers that the Congress would go to any length as the CMs wife was in the poll fray. The Congress is going to pump in money because its the CMs wife.
BJP workers should counter this cash-flow with their sweat and toil, he said. Dhumal added that during its four-and-half-month rule,the Congress government has done nothing except transferring officials,closing down colleges three of which are in Mandi re-naming welfare schemes started by the BJP government,denying PDS ration to consumers and cheating unemployed youth.
He also had a warning for the Congress: The Rohtang Tunnel project for which Pratibha Singh is trying to take credit was in fact cleared by former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee,a fact acknowledged by UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi.
Shanta also waded in and slammed the Congress for breaking all corruption records. In my 60 years of political life,I dont recall having seen such a corrupt government,with a record number of ministers involved, a few landing up in jail while others making crores through their kin, Shanta said.
Apart from the two BJP stalwarts others on the stage included Balbir Punj,the BJP incharge for Himachal Pradesh,and the partys national general secretary J P Nadda.
Punj described Virbhadra Singh as a rejected item from Delhi. One who was thrown out of the central ministry has become CM here and is now asking for gifts on his birthday (Virbhadra Singhs birthday falls on polling day,June 23). Its a shame, Punj said.
Party candidate Jairam Thakur said Mandi Parliamentary constituency will create history of sorts by ushering in the NDAs return to replace a corrupt and scam-ridden Congress government in Delhi.
Employees union to support Cong
Shimla: The Himachal Pradesh Employees,Pensioners,Labourers and Unemployed Youth Morcha led by former NGO leader Gopal Dass Verma on Saturday said the morcha will mobilise support for Congress candidate Pratibha Singh for the Mandi by-election. He added that as a gift for Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh,whose birthday falls on polling day (June 23),the morcha members will vote against the BJP.