The BJP has targeted you over corruption charges and called Himachal a den of rising corruption. How do you react?
The cases against me are politically motivated. The BJP wants to crush me but I am not brittle. I am made of hard rock. They have bandied about the word ‘corruption’ but forget that a report, released by Niti Aayog member Bibek Debroy, says Himachal is the least corrupt state… There is no truth in the BJP’s allegations. Our government has acted against all corruption cases.
I respect BJP president Amit Shah, but want to ask him how his son Jay Shah started with Rs 50,000 and made Rs 80 crore in just one year. I would be grateful to him if he could share this formula of success with us. Is this not corruption? Why is there no inquiry in this case?
The gangrape and murder of a 16-yr-old near Shimla invoked public anger and became a rallying point for the Opposition. Was your government lax in taking action?
…We were very quick to react. Within days of the incident, I wrote to the Prime Minister and Home Minister seeking a CBI inquiry. This is what we told the High Court as well. The CBI has been conducting an inquiry and would have certainly prepared a case against us had they found some wrongdoing, but nothing of this sort has been established.
The BJP had several star campaigners travelling to the state. You, however, remained the Congress’s main face, with few campaigners from outside. Will this hurt your prospects?
I have travelled to every part of Himachal in the past few weeks… I have done the same in previous elections. Many other Congress leaders also campaigned… The BJP made several attacks on us, including aerial attacks (alluding to choppers that ferried Prime Minister Narendra Modi and senior BJP leaders, including Amit Shah). The language used by Modiji does not suit his station. I am confident of a win.
BJP declared former CM P K Dhumal as its CM face. Has this marred the Congress’s chances of a win?
Modiji was keen on taking credit for the BJP’s win in these elections, just like in previous ones, but when he saw the
situation on the ground he decided to name Dhumalji as the candidate.