Sunday, January 19, 2003, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Congress gives oust-BJP call
Our Correspondent

Hamirpur, January 18
The Congress today launched its election campaign in Hamirpur district by giving a clarion call to the people to oust the “most inefficient, corrupt and anti-people BJP-led” government from power. Two of the party’s top leaders in the state, Mr Virbhadra Singh and Mrs Vidya Stokes, told the people that a single mistake committed by them could harm their interests and the security and integrity of state would be in peril.

Exhibiting unity in the party in the presence of top national leaders, they claimed that the rout of the BJP was imminent as people were fed up with its poor performance.

This was the first rally by any party in Hamirpur after the announcement of the Assembly elections. Prominent among those who attended today’s rally were Mrs Mohsina Kidwai, AICC General Secretary, Mr Motilal Vora, former UP Governor and AICC Treasurer, and Mr Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister of Punjab.

Mr Amarinder Singh claimed that a pro-Congress wave was sweeping the state and the rout of the BJP was imminent. He said the Congress had created the state of Himachal Pradesh, nursed it and then given it the status of an full-fledged state.

He charged the Chief Minister with indulging in unfair means and said in Jalandhar alone Prof Dhumal and his family had amassed property worth Rs 25 crore.

The Punjab Chief Minister said in Punjab Akalis and BJP leaders had amassed huge money through unfair means during their regime.

He said people of Himachal Pradesh were honest and hard working, and would not fall prey to the false propaganda of the BJP. He said the Congress was a party of the masses and had done a lot for the well-being of the people.

Capt Amarinder Singh lauded the role of serving soldiers and ex-servicemen of the state.

Mr Motilal Vora blasted the Central and state governments for trying to divide the nation of communal lines. He said the BJP was anti-people and would mortgage the nation in the hands of foreigners if allowed to come to power again.

Mrs Kidwai lambasted the BJP for “its pro-rich and anti-poor” policies. She said the party had no concrete policies for the people. The main aim of its leaders was to grab power and mint money.

Mrs Kidwai said the BJP was trying to bring Mr Narendra Modi to repeat a Gujarat here. She said the unity and integrity of this peaceful state would not be allowed to be disturbed at any cost.

She said the people knew about the past performance of Mr Modi in Himachal Pradesh, when he had divided the BJP into two groups. She said he would be a big failure in the state.

Mrs Vidya Stokes, HP Congress president, predicted that Himachal Pradesh would go the Congress way this time.

Mr Virbhadra Singh said Himachal Pradesh was a state of martyrs and valiant jawans, who had laid down their lives for the nation. The BJP had played a big joke on them.

Giving details of development activities undertaken in the state since Independence, he said whatever the state was today was due to the efforts of the Congress.

Mr Anand Sharma, spokesman for the Congress, blasted the Central Government for its inept handling of the situation on all fronts.


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