Tribune News Service
Shimla, December 26
With the BJP government in Himachal completing four years in power, Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur has stressed the need for changes both in the government and party set-up to improve functioning.
Working towards ‘mission repeat’
The defeat in the recent byelections came as an eye-opener ahead of the Vidhan Sabha elections. We will work more aggressively to achieve ‘mission repeat’. — Jai Ram Thakur, Himachal Chief Minister
Thakur’s reply came when questioned on the BJP’s 0-4 loss to the Opposition Congress in the recent bypolls to one Lok Sabha and three Assembly seats. “Several factors, including sympathy wave after the death of former CM Virbhadra Singh, were to blame. But I do admit the need for change in the government as well as the BJP’s organisational set-up. The high command has been apprised and it will act at an opportune time,” the CM said in an interview with The Tribune.
Asked whether he was satisfied with the performance of his Cabinet colleagues, Thakur said, “I am more or less happy with the performance of my ministers, but there is always a scope for improvement. Any decision on reshuffle will be taken by the central leadership.”
On how he and his party took the bypoll debacle and what would be the BJP’s strategy to reverse the trend in the 2022 Assembly elections, he said, “Whatever the reasons, it’s the victory that matters in the end. The bypoll defeat came as an eye-opener ahead of the Vidhan Sabha elections. We will work more aggressively to achieve ‘mission repeat’.” He claimed that for the “faction-ridden” Congress, putting up a united fight would be an uphill task. Thakur maintained that bridging the regional divide, ending vendetta politics and catering to all sections of society were his biggest achievements. “We have tried to provide succour to the common man by launching several health, housing and social welfare schemes,” he said.
About his government’s targets in last year of rule before next elections, he said the aim was to boost tourism and industrialisation by improving aerial, rail and road connectivity. “We are aggressively working towards a bulk drug park, which will attract major investments. We want to expedite tourism projects sanctioned by the Asian Development Bank, especially for new and lesser-known destinations under the ‘Nai Raahein–Nai Manzilen’ project. Creating tourism infrastructure at both ends of Rohtang Atal Tunnel will remain a priority,” the CM said.
On his plans to improve the state’s financial health, Thakur said this certainly was an issue of grave concern. “Himachal’s debt burden has touched Rs 62,000 crore. We are making efforts to generate additional revenue and will also seek central assistance. But we won’t let paucity of funds derail the pace of development,” he said.
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