Faced with mounting pressure from the central Congress leadership to show the door to opposition Bharatiya Janata Party in the upcoming parliamentary elections, chief minister Virbhadra Singh on Tuesday said the performance of all nominated workers and office-bearers would be reviewed, and the party would take “serious note” of candidates' failure to get a “respectable” lead in their respective constituencies or blocks.
Claiming that the party was “fully-united” and has geared up to face the challenge, Virbhadra has started a massive poll campaign to further mobilise the rank and file, aimed at strengthening the coordination between the government and party organisation.
In an informal chat with mediapersons at Barog, he said the criminal case against BJP candidate Virender Kashyap was registered during the regime of Prem Kumar Dhumal, and his government had “only stepped up” the investigation. “So far, the investigation has established that the compact disk (CD) was genuine and the charges have also been found correct and true by the investigating agency. The law will take its course. My government would never act out of political vendetta against its detractors,” he claimed.
Singh said, “The BJP candidate should immediately step down on moral grounds, as people are aware about the misdeeds of BJP leaders.”
He added that he would tour every nook and corner of the state to ensure the victory of the party's official candidates. “Since the previous BJP government promoted land, contractor, sports and other mafias, people will show the door to the BJP candidates,” he claimed.
Virbhadra alleged that the 'Narendra Modi factor' was “only the creation of the media”, as certain big business houses were spending huge amounts to promote the BJP's prime ministerial candidate.
Replying to a question, he said the Congress would welcome Dhumal if he was fielded as its official candidate from Mandi constituency.
The CM claimed that his government that had opened 500 new schools and 14 government degree colleges, besides bridging the gap of regionalism. Provision of channelisation of Sawan river, Siddhartha canal and Phina Singh were the other achievements, he added.
On the cricket controversy, he alleged that the BJP indulged in malpractices to promote a particular group and changed the land use to extend “undue” favour to the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association. The land was marked as 'banjar kadim bina darkhatan' (barren without trees), while more than 2,000 green tress were still standing there, he alleged.
Replying to another question, he claimed that Narender Thakur rejoining the BJP would have no effect on the Congress' prospects.
Terming Major Vijay Singh Mankotia “a man of character”, Virbhadra said he and the Congress always held him in high respect.
Reacting over the Patanjali Yogpeeth land row, Singh said the central party leadership never discussed the matter or asked him to initiate action against Acharya Balkrishan. “Only investigation had established that land was leased out in violation of the land laws,” he added.
Upset over the allotment of shops in violation of rules and policy of the State Agriculture and Marketing Board in Solan subzi mandi, Singh asked the authorities to immediately initiate lawful action for cancellation of the allotment. The previous BJP government had allotted the shops-cum-offices to its kin in violation of the rules. The complaint was made to the chief minister by people.
The CM later addressed rallies at Dharampur, Diggal, Patta-Brouri, Kunihar and Arki.