Staring at an inevitable defeat in the Himachal Pradesh assembly elections, incumbent chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal on Thursday spoke to HT about the defeat and the reasons behind it.
The mandate is clearly going in Congress' favour. Your comment...
Mandate is important in democracy and, this time, it is clearly in Congress' favour. We welcome and accept the verdict. Congratulations to the Congress and candidates who have won. The people's decision is always good. Sometimes they vote in our favour sometimes not.
How will you evaluate the work done by your government?
In the past five years, we tried to work for the benefit of every family in the state. Several public-oriented schemes were implemented and there was not a single family that did not benefit from development schemes run by the government. There may have been some shortcomings in our services.
What do you feel are the reasons behind the party's defeat?
The party leadership will introspect and try to find out the reasons. It's too early to say anything.
Do you think people voted on local issues while BJP's campaign was focused on national issues?
I don't think so. Had the people voted on local issues, the mandate would have been in our favour.
The party's performance in Kangra was the worst. Do you think the issue of trifurcating the district had an impact on the party's fortune?
Yes… Our performance was the worst in Kangra. If the issue of the new district had been raised, then creation would have benefited us. But, we never took a decision, as it (trifurcation of Kangra) was only a suggestion.
Was intra-party squabbling another reason for the defeat?
The party will analyse all aspects.
The BJP's entire campaign was focused on attacking Virbhadra Singh. Did that went against the party?
No our campaign was not against Virbhadra Singh or any other person. It was focused on issues like corruption and inflation. Unfortunately, we failed to get the people's mandate.