Campaign trail with Prem Kumar Dhumal: Articulate ex-Himachal CM has knack for bouncing back in game
Though physically feeble and tired, may be because of his age, but Dhumal’s speech at Kangu, Hamirpur is as powerful and articulate as it was when he served as chief minister from 2007 to 2012.HimachalPradeshElection2017 Updated: Nov 06, 2017 18:17 IST
Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) chief ministerial face Prem Kumar Dhumal has emerged stronger every time his detractors attempted to end his political career.
In the 2007 assembly polls, Dhumal’s detractors within the party had planned to compel party members to not project him as the chief ministerial candidate, but he they failed. This time too, they tried to keep him away. Dhumal, however, was again declared the chief ministerial face, just nine days ahead of the polls.
“I don’t mind. This happens. After all, its politics,” says Dhumal, before addressing a rally at Kangu, Hamirpur to address a rally in favour of party candidate and sitting MLA from Nadaun, Vijay Agnihotri.
It’s his third rally for the day after the first two in Solan and Kasauli and he has to address four more.
Plain speech, common speak
“The common man is set to rout the government led by a Raja. When I was in Kotkhai for a rally, people there were raising slogans of ‘Seb ko bachana, Dhumal ko laana hai (If you want to save the apple, vote for Dhumal). At a rally in Rampur Bushehar, Virbhadra’s own kingdom, slogans against him were raised. Why should Hamirpur lag behind?,” says Dhumal.
His speech was interrupted, repeatedly, by a woman worker of the party who raised a slogan “Rohru- Raja nahi chalega” but Dhumal was quick to respond. “Asha ji, aap nirash mat hoiye. Ab upar-niche har jagah hi BJP hai (Asha ji, don’t be sad. Now, there is no divide between upper and lower Himachal. BJP is everywhere now,” he retorts.
“Tum mujhe Hamirpur se 5 seats jitwa ke do, main tumhe Vikas doonga (Give me all five seats from Hamirpur, I will give you development)” Dhumal has been reiterating this in every address.
“A few seats were locked in close battle, but I’m sure we will win all five in Hamirpur,” he admitted.
Hardcore politician with an ear to the ground
To Virbhadra’s charges that Dhumal family and that the Modi government was after him for the past five years, the former chief minister smiles “Virbhadra ji must introspect. It was his own sins which have cost him dear,” he says.
In his next rally at Samaila village, after seeing a large number of women in the crowd, Dhumal takes a jibe at the Congress government by raking up the issue of the rape and brutal murder of Gudiya in Shimla “Jab hum satta main aate hain, to matri shakti ko samman milta hai, jab Congress hoti hai to Gudiya kaand milta hai (When we run the government we give respect to women, when the Congress is there, we are shamed with a Gudiya-like episode),” says Dhumal.
Asked if he ever thought of becoming chief minister, Dhumal says, “I started my career as an LIC agent in Jalandhar. With a humble background, I did not even think of becoming an MLA. But such miracles are possible in the BJP only,” he adds.
Its 8.30 pm but he still has to address two more allies in Bhoranj and Hamirpur segments. “Ab CM banke aaunga aur Vikas deke jayunga,” he says, addressing the people.