The BJP hopes to repeat its 2014 performance in Himachal Pradesh, clinching all four Lok Sabha seats. In an interview to The Indian Express, HP BJP president Satpal Singh Satti discusses the election scene in the hill state. Excerpts:
How do you rate one year of Jai Ram Thakur government?
Shehari aur sharif, gaon aur garib, chhota aur bada — everyone has been taken care of in the first year of Jai Ram Thakur government. It has been a year of all-encompassing, all-inclusive and all-round development.
Personally, don’t you think it has also been a year of missed opportunity? Your chief ministerial candidate Prem Kumar Dhumal had lost. You would have become the chief minister had you won.
Of late, Una constituency has been making strange electoral choices. If they elect a Congress MLA, the govt is formed by the BJP; if they elect a BJP MLA, the govt is formed by the Congress.
It’s true to some extent. One should be capable of getting people’s work done, no matter which party is in power. I have got people’s work done even when my party was not in power.
What are your preparations for the Lok Sabha elections?
We are fully prepared.
Which issues will dominate the elections?
The biggest issue will be (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi himself. His style of functioning, his politics of development — everything will count. Apart from it, (Chief Minister) Jai Ram Thakur’s work will matter as well.
Himachal Pradesh has been sanctioned big-ticket projects, the projects we could not even dream of: four medical colleges, two smart cities (Dharamshala and Shimla), PGI satellite centre at Una, IIT Una, and hydro engineering college at Bilaspur.
Also, surgical strikes and air strikes against Pakistan will be an important issue.
It’s only under Modiji that national security is getting due attention.
Have you finalised candidates for the elections? Will sitting candidates get tickets?
The process is on. Our parliamentary board will decide the candidates.
The Congress accuses your government of not fulfiling the promises made in the Assembly elections.
That’s not true. They make accusations for the sake of politics. We have done in one year what we had not even