BANUTI (SHIMLA), Nov 9 (PTI): Addressing his first public meeting in the Himachal Pradesh assembly elections, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge on Wednesday trained his gun on the BJP and said it may have fooled people across the country with its “jumlas” but cannot do so in the hill state.
“People here are educated, understand everything and take a considered decision (in voting)…. The BJP may have been able to fool people all over the country with its jumlas (rhetoric) of Rs 15 lakh in bank accounts and jobs, but it cannot do so here,” Kharge said.
Kharge, who was elected Congress president recently, arrived in Himachal Pradesh Tuesday evening and addressed his first public meeting in Banuti in support of party candidate from the Shimla Rural assembly constituency Vikramaditya Singh on Wednesday.
The Congress is seeking to wrest power from the BJP in the hill state, where the Congress and the BJP have governed alternately for the past many decades.
Polling in Himachal Pradesh will be held on November 12 and the counting of votes will be taken up on December 8.
Kharge said the Congress would fulfil all its promises made in the manifesto and the restoration of the old pension scheme would be the first decision of its government, if elected.
“As far as the old pension scheme is concerned, it will be implemented first. This is our promise and if given a chance this will be the first thing to be done,” he said.
Restoration of the old pension scheme, 300 units of free power, a Rs 680-crore StartUp fund, one lakh jobs and Rs 1,500 per month for women aged between 18 and 60 years are among the promises the Congress has made in its manifesto for the Himachal Pradesh polls.
The Congress president alleged that the BJP wins elections by making false promises and spreading lies.
“Why do you speak untruth? Speak truth and then seek votes. You also said you will provide 2 crore jobs every year and had you fulfilled your promise, there would have been 18 crore jobs by now and the youth would not have been unemployed,” he said, targeting the BJP.
Donning a Himachali cap, he said he comes from south India but will speak in Hindustani.
Accusing the BJP of not practising internal democracy Kharge said he was elected as the Congress president and everyone knew how his election was held, but no one knew about J P Nadda’s election as the BJP president.
“Because, there are no elections in the BJP and there is only nomination. They only talk about the Congress, but I would ask them how many candidates were there for the BJP president’s election. You do not believe in democracy and speak about others,” he charged.
The prime minister and all BJP leaders during debates in Parliament talked of jobs, but there are 65,000 vacancies in the government in Himachal Pradesh and 14 lakh across the country and the prime minister is giving out job certificates to only 75,000 people.
He alleged that the BJP was not filling up lakhs of vacancies and was not looking at rising unemployment and inflation.
“Farmers do not have mandis to sell their produce. They do not even get MSP. Those selling fruits at much higher rates after buying cheaper from farmers here are supported by the BJP and the chief minister. Do you need such a government,” he asked.
Kharge said the Congress had fulfilled all promises made earlier and “we will also waive loans of farmers here”.
He hailed the soldiers from Himachal Pradesh who are protecting the country’s borders and said because of them “we are alive”. “If you did not protect the country, we all would have not been alive as the enemy would have entered and cut all our heads.”
He also targeted the BJP government over the Agniveer scheme for short-term recruitment in the armed forces. After a four-year stint in the forces, the youths will not get any pension or gratuity and they will not be even called ex-servicemen, he said.
The BJP is “in the habit of fooling people” and it does nothing but abuse the Congress.
“They (BJP leaders) do not chant any mantra after waking up in the morning but abuse the Congress on various issues. That is their way but we work for the people,” he said.
Kharge also listed out the 10 promises made by the Congress to the people of Himachal and said all of them will be fulfilled.
“These are not our jumlas like those of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. These are our promises. I will only urge people to vote for the Congress and I am getting information that a Congress government will be formed in Himachal Pradesh,” he said.