Calling Himachal Pradesh his ‘second home’, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said the people of the state have made up their mind to repeat the BJP government on the lines of Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh. Setting in motion party’s campaigning ahead of the polls, the Prime Minister was addressing the Yuva Vijay Sankalp Rally rally at Paddal Ground in Mandi through video-conferencing, after he couldn’t reach the venue due to inclement weather.
“For decades, in our country, governments were unstable. There was no clear majority. No one knew how many days a government would last. Not only the citizens, the entire world was apprehensive. But in 2014, everyone, including Himachal, voted for a stable, strong government. This gave stability in all aspects of governance,” said Modi in his virtual speech.
He said the co-ordination between the state and central governments has strengthened governance and bettered policy making. “For the maintenance of national highways in the state, nearly Rs 14,000 crore were released. This is seven times what the previous government had allocated,” he said.
The PM said the state has made invaluable contributions in several fields, including sports, while praising the party’s youth wing. Whether sports or the government, BJP’s youth leaders are setting an example for the entire country. “From CMs to MLAs, the BJP has the maximum number of youth leaders,” Modi said.
He talked about IIT in Mandi, proposed Bulk Drug Park and other developmental projects in the pipeline for the state. Himachal Pradesh is one of the three states which has been chosen for developing the pharma hub, he added. “Tourism sector will get a huge boost in the times to come. Whether it’s Kullu shawl, Chamba paintings or Lahauli warm clothes, all have been given geographical indication (GI) tags. Whenever I meet a foreign dignitary, I gift them something from Himachal so that they know about the state, said the PM. He said he would soon visit Himachal Pradesh to have a face-to-face meeting with the people of the hill state.
Since the 1990s, no party has been able to repeat a government in Himachal. The BJP is trying hard to break the pattern, citing CM Jairam Thakur’s governance, and the “lack” of leadership in the Congress.
Prior to the PM speech, slogans such as “Wahan Yogi laaye, yahan Jairam laayenge (Brought Yogi in UP, will bring Jairam here)” were raised by the youth leaders from the stage. Apart from CM Jairam Thakur, party’s youth wing national president and MP Tejaswi Surya also addressed the rally.
Despite the bad weather, people from across the state had gathered for the rally. As it started drizzling, people used chairs to protect themselves amid request from the organisers to remain seated.
“We have come to see the PM from far. He is our leader. We understand if he couldn’t make it but some cover for the public,” said Sunny, who had come from Dharamshala.