‘Visible tilt in Himachal towards Congress as Modi govt has failed to deliver’ : The Tribune India

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‘Visible tilt in Himachal towards Congress as Modi govt has failed to deliver’

‘Visible tilt in Himachal towards Congress as Modi govt has failed to deliver’

Pratibha Singh, Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee president



The Tribune interview: Pratibha Singh, Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee president

Just before the elections were announced, the Congress appeared in deep mess. The government and the party appeared at loggerheads with Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee president Pratibha Singh openly airing her resentment with the functioning of the government. Later, the sudden resignation by her son and PWD Minister Vikramaditya Singh left the government red-faced. Asserting that she was merely fulfilling her duty as head of the organisation by airing the grievances of party workers, Pratibha Singh, in an interview with Subhash Rajta, says all issues have been sorted and the party was set to give the BJP a drubbing in the elections. Excerpts:

You looked unhappy with the functioning of the government a couple of months back and aired your resentment openly on several occasions.

You can’t call it a rift or even a disagreement. As the head of the organisation, it is my responsibility to apprise the Chief Minister of the aspirations and grievances of the party workers. The workers are the backbone of the party and they have some expectations when their government comes to power. As the HPCC president, it was my responsibility to give voice to their grievances and remind the government of the promise we have made to them. If I didn’t speak up for them, they would have felt let down and abandoned. There was no resentment with the CM, I was merely trying to make their voice heard.

Your son Vikramaditya Singh even resigned from the council of ministers, triggering speculations that he would join the BJP. He did not, but the BJP is milking the episode to the hilt in its campaign.

Again, he did not resign though he had some resentment or something was on his mind. He merely wanted more freedom to work and deliver. He wanted to do his best as a PWD Minister and wanted a free hand. But when he saw some hurdles in his way and felt he wouldn’t be able to work and deliver to the best of his ability, he decided to quit. Such things do happen in a family, but all these issues have been sorted out and it’s unfair on the part of the BJP to make it a political issue.

How do you see the Congress faring this time?

There’s a visible tilt among people towards the Congress. Even the people from other ideologies are getting drawn to the Congress. One of the biggest reasons behind people moving towards the Congress is the failure of the Narendra Modi government to deliver on its promises of generating employment and curbing inflation and corruption. People have waited for 10 years and they have no more patience left to see these promises coming true. Meanwhile, our state government has done well on most fronts and stood firmly with the people when the disaster struck last year.

The Congress lost all four seats by huge margins of three to over four lakh votes in 2019? Isn’t this gap too huge to cover?

I don’t believe the gap on all four seats could have been so huge. I suspect some EVM foul play could have been at work. The EVMs have become a huge issue and all parties are raising it now. Having said that, we should not forget I won the by-election for the Mandi parliamentary seat in 2021, which we had lost by over four lakh votes in 2019. The circumstances when I won were tough – the BJP had a double-engine government and the BJP CM was from Mandi. Now, the situation is much better. We have our government in the state, the achievements of our government in 15 months and the failure of the Modi government in 10 years to show to the people.

Like in 2019, the BJP candidates are seeking votes in Modi’s name? Will it be tough again for the Congress to counter Modi’s appeal and charisma?

Absolutely not! There was a time when everyone, from children, youth and elderly, had Modi’s name on their lips. They believed that Modi would generate employment, reduce inflation and curb corruption. Their hopes have been belied in 10 years and Modi’s name and his guarantees aren’t causing the same excitement now. Besides, people understand they need an effective representative who could raise their concerns in Parliament.

The political discourse in the elections, especially in the Mandi parliamentary constituency, has come down to derogatory and personal comments.

Of course, it is wrong to make personal remarks against our opponent. It’s not in our culture and everyone should avoid it. People are hearing what we are saying and what our opponents are saying. You can’t control social media but at least candidates and others should avoid it.

Like in the byelections and Assembly elections, will late Virbhadra Singh be a factor this time?

We do not have to use his name all the time. People know the work he did for the betterment of the state and the people and he continues to live in their heart. We do not have to remind people about it time and again. In any case, his son Vikramaditya Singh is carrying forward his legacy now.

#Congress #Pratibha Singh


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