It is a battle of rallies in the hill state, as while opposition Bharatiya Janata Party gears up for the 'parivartan' rally of its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, scheduled to be held in Sujanpur Tihra on February 16, the Congress has chosen to hold a rally at Haroli in Una district on the same day to counter the 'Modi effect'.
The BJP has already announced that it would mobilise nearly two lakh people for the rally, being dubbed as one of the biggest in the state's political history.
The BJP leadership had sought 500 buses from the state's public sector undertaking Himachal Pradesh Road Transport Corporation, but the authorities, citing constraint, have partially agreed to provide 300, and have said the ruling Congress had also booked 300 buses for the public function in Haroli.
“We have come to know about the public function recently. It is clear that whatever efforts the government wants to make, they can, but people in the state are eagerly looking forward to Narendra Modi's rally, and they will participate in large numbers,” claimed state BJP chief Satpal Singh Satti, a legislator from Una district.
Congress sources said nearly 20,000 people were expected at the function at Dulerh village, which would be presided over by chief minister Virbhadra Singh. The CM would first lay the foundation stone for a `300 crore food park project at Batho and Singha villages,” Birender Dharmani of Una district congress committee told Hindustan Times. The ministry of food processing industries had recently sanctioned food parks for Una in Himachal Pradesh and Sirsa and Panipat districts in Haryana.
“Though the plans for the public meeting were finalised three days ago, we are expecting a good turnout,” he said.
The BJP has been critical of the government decision to reschedule the meetings of gram sabhas in certain districts for February 16. The party had earlier gone on record alleging that the gram sabha meetings were planned deliberately to the dissuade public from participating in Modi's rally.