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Over 70 per cent voter turnout in Himachal, fate of Virbhadra, Dhumal hangs in balance



[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Strong voter turnout in Himachal. Congress struggles to retain power while BJP hopes to win hill state by unleashing publicity blitzkrieg, attacking Virbhadra

Brisk polling was reported in the hill state of Himachal Pradesh, on Thursday, with over 70 per cent of the electorate turning out to cast their votes by 5 pm for the Assembly elections. The results, due onDecember 18, will decide whether voters reposed their faith in six-time chief minister Virbhadra Singh and the Congress or bought into claims of anti-incumbency, allegations of corruption against the chief minister and the promise of ‘vikas’ made by the BJP.

The voting in Himachal comes after weeks of a shrill, often vitriolic election campaign that saw the BJP rake up a laundry list of allegations against the ruling party and chief minister Virbhadra Singh, while Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself urged the electorate to “wipe out” the grand old party which he likened to “termites”.

The Congress had decided to contest the elections under the leadership of Virbhadra Singh, the incumbent octogenarian chief minister who has held the post on five earlier occasions. The BJP in turn had named former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal as its chief ministerial candidate.

In the last assembly election, the Congress under Virbhadra had secured 36 seats in the 68-member Himachal Assembly while the BJP was reduced to just 26 seats, the remaining seats being won by independents. However, this time round poll surveys and the BJP have predicted a saffron wave in Himachal, one of the few states left under Congress rule.

There is no denying that the Congress’ bid to retain power in the hill state has odds stacked against it.

Wiped out of power in most of the country and at the Centre by the electoral tsunami unleashed by the BJP under Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party president Amit Shah, the Congress had, according to party sources, contested the election on a minimalist budget – its leaders, including the aging Virbhadra travelling in the mountainous terrain mostly by road instead of choppers to campaign even in far flung areas.

In stark contrast, the BJP had unleashed a publicity blitzkrieg while its leaders, from the Prime Minister to a host of other central ministers and chief ministers toured the state in helicopters, addressing many more rallies than those attended by the Congress leadership.

For the Congress, the electoral battle was made tougher by the corruption cases stacked up against Virbhadra – something that the chief minister has always maintained was the result of BJP’s political vendetta against him – and a sense of anti-incumbency.

However, the Congress believes that Virbhadra’s image of one of the tallest political leaders in the state, his credentials of being the much loved and respected Raja of Rampur-Bushahr and his understanding of the state’s political equations would help the grand old party retain power in the state. It is precisely for these reasons that the Congress decided to project Virbhadra – a chief minister of six terms – as its chief ministerial candidate once again.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Latest Politics News

PM Modi takes a dig at SP, Congress, asks them to take lessons from Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath

PM Modi said that the Congress is also planning to overturn the Supreme Court’s decision on Ram Temple.



Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday claimed that the Congress and the Samajwadi Party will run bulldozers and demolish the Ram Temple if voted to power. Taking a dig at these aforesaid parties, the Prime Minister suggested them to take lessons from Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on the appropriate utilization of bulldozers.

Addressing an election rally at Uttar Pradesh’s Barabanki, PM Narendra Modi claimed that a senior Samajwadi Party leader had said on the day of Ram Navami that Ram Temple is useless. He further said that the Congress is also planning to overturn the Supreme Court’s decision on Ram Temple. He said that if Congress-Samajwadi Party comes to power, they will send Ram Lalla back to the tent. 

Recently, Samajwadi Party leader Ram Gopal Yadav triggered controversy by terming the Ram Temple as useless due to perceived inadequate construction. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has criticized the remarks, and pointed out this to be the reality of the INDIA bloc.  

Speaking in the Hindi heartland, the Prime Minister mentioned that SP-Congress have surrendered to the appeasement, and when he is speaking truth, the parties are blaming him for creating Hindu-Muslim divide. He further referred to SP Leader Akhilesh Yadav as a socialist prince who has taken shelter under a new aunt from Bengal, apparently referring to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banejee. 

The Prime Minister stated the vote bank the opposition people run after has also started understanding the truth now. He expressed that mothers and sisters of the country are happy with the laws on triple talaq are continuously blessing his government. 

During the election rally, Prime Minister Narendra Modi exuded confidence that the BJP will retain their power for the third term in a row. PM Modi said that the Modi government would score a hat-trick. He also promised to work for the welfare of the poor, youth, women, and farmers during his third term, and sought blessings of the people.

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2024 Lok Sabha Elections

Rahul Gandhi says Congress will give 10kg free ration if elected to power

He also recalled that during the UPA government, the Congress has given legal status to the right to food through the Food Security Act.



Ahead of the fifth phase of the Lok Sabha election, Senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday said that the Congress will provide 10 Kg free ration to the poor families if elected to power. He added that 10 Kg ration along with Rs 8500 per month will promote education and self-employment among millions in the country.

Taking to social media platform X, formerly Twitter, Rahul Gandhi said that Congress has taken another big decision for the poor families of the country. He promised that his party will give 10 Kg free ration, instead of 5Kg. He also recalled that during the UPA government, the Congress has given legal status to the right to food through the Food Security Act. and that 10 Kg free ration will be the next step in the direction.

Accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi of running a government of Adani, and making 20-25 billionaires, the senior Congress leader said that Congress will make crores of millionaires and run the government of Indians. Earlier, Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge also promised to provide 10Kg free ration if voted to power.

Meanwhile, Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi on Thursday slammed BJP’s 5Kg ration policy at an election rally in Uttar Pradesh’s Raebareli, where Rahul Gandhi is contesting. She said that 5Kg ration will not make one self-reliant, but employment will. She explained the electorates need to understand that political parties whose ideologies make people dependent is not right. She concluded that voters will choose employment over 5Kg ration that BJP promises.

Along with 10Kg free ration, Congress has also promised to start recuitment process for 30 lakh government post by August 15. The Party also vowed to provide the youth their first job of Rs 1 lakh per year. It also guranteed better working conditions, pensions and social security for the work force of the gig economy.

Furthermore, the Congress also promised start-up funds for young entrepreneurs at district levels from the national funds of Rs 5000 crore. The party also pledged to give National minimum wage of Rs400 per day, including all MGNREGS workers, and stop contractualisation of employment in core government functions.

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2024 Lok Sabha Elections

BJP to contest all 13 Punjab Lok Sabha seats for first time since 1996, says state BJP chief Sunil Jakhar

Jakhar said that the Lok Sabha election was the most appropriate time for the BJP to contest independently, as the state is looking for an option



Punjab BJP state President Sunil Jakhar recently said that his party will contest all 13 Lok Sabha sears in the state independently. The BJP has not allied with the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) since 1996.

Sunil Jakhar in an interview with a news publication, said that this decision signifies a new chapter in the party’s strategy in Punjab. The BJP had allied with the SAD in Punjab for over two decades, and is considered to be a major coalition in the state’s political landscape.

The BJP state chief noted that the decision to contest independently was taken on the account of the feedback from the public and party members, reflecting a growing sentiment within the BJP to establish a stronger, independent presence in Punjab.

Jakhar continued that the Lok Sabha election was the most appropriate time for the BJP to contest independently, as the state is looking for an option. He asserted that Punjab tried out-of-the-box experiment in form of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), but are dissappointed with them.

He further highlighted the BJP’s work under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, particularly in securing minimum support prices for farmers, as key accomplishments that the party will present to the electorate. This development follows as the BJP aims to consolidate its position and expand its influence in Punjab.

Notably, the SAD was one of the oldest allies of the BJP. Nonetheless, the SAD severed ties with the NDA in September 2020 over the now repealed farm laws that saw widespread protests in northern India.

Speaking about coalition with SAD, the BJP state chief said that the alliance was not political but a social one. He added that the party is facing a battle of survival, and that its leader Sukhbir Singh Badal has sins to wash of, including the drug problem and sacrilege cases.

Election in Punjab’s 13 Lok Sabha seats is scheduled for June 1, 2024. This development is expected to significantly alter the dynamics of the electoral battle in Punjab, traditionally dominated by the SAD-BJP coalition and the Congress party.

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