U’khand: Rawat confident of ‘decisive mandate’, accuses PM of abusive poll campaigndehradun Updated: Feb 15, 2017 21:25 IST
Chief minister Harish Rawat poses for shutterbugs outside a polling booth in Dehadun on Wednesday.(Vinay Santosh Kumar)
Chief minister Harish Rawat on Wednesday claimed that the ruling Congress would get a decisive mandate in the assembly elections even as he accused the opposition BJP of running a negative campaign in Uttarakhand and splurging ₹2000 crore on it.
“Our party is going to get a decisive mandate in this assembly election, which will be an affirmation of the policies I pursued to strengthen the state’s agri-pastoral economy to check forced migration from the hill districts,” Rawat told reporters after his arrival at the Niranjanpur polling booth to cast his vote around noon.
He also hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for ‘spearheading a negative campaign’ for the BJP in the run up to the polls.
“The way he (Modi) resorted to the abusive language against me accusing me of a litany of baseless corruption charges while leading his party’s (BJP) election campaign lowered the dignity of the post he holds”, the chief minister said.
“They indulged in negative election campaign against me and my party because they had no agenda for the state’s development,” Rawat said while daring the Prime Minister to initiate an inquiry by a Supreme Court judge or by the CBI into the allegations of graft Modi made against him.
“Hang me, if I am found guilty by such a panel…If my name is cleared, then Prime Minister should apologise to the people of this state,” he said alleging that the BJP had splurged ₹2000 crore in its election campaign. “Half of that amount (₹2000 crore) was spent in media management whereas the rest (₹1000 crore) went into that party’s (BJP) poll campaign.”
While he accused the Prime Minister for his ‘personalised’ abusive election campaign against him, Rawat said that he and his party’s (Congress) election campaign had its focus on a series of
development schemes his government implemented in the state since he took over as the chief minister two-and-a-half years ago.
“In fact, I am the first chief minister who initiated a series of development schemes to strengthen the state’s agri-pastoral economy since it came into being 16 years ago,” Rawat said while clarifying that most those initiatives were aimed to check the forced migration from the hills.
He alleged that the BJP-led Centre had stashed wads of new currency notes to run its election campaign before Modi demonetised ₹1000 and ₹500 bank notes. Rawat alleged that the move proved to be counterproductive as it had rendered the lakhs of poor people without employment and livelihood.
Rawat also rubbished the BJP’s criticism of his move to contest election from two assembly constituencies -- Haridwar (Rural) and Kichha. “That party is upset because my decision drastically altered the electoral equations in several assembly seats in the state’s entire plains region,” he claimed.