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Sunday, Oct 20, 2019

On penultimate day of canvassing, Himachal sees high-octane rallies

Rahul Gandhi takes on PM over economy, while BJP’s Yogi, Rajnath and Smriti Irani make last ditch efforts to woo voters

assembly-elections Updated: Nov 07, 2017 15:41 IST
Gaurav Bisht
Gaurav Bisht
Hindustan Times, Shimla
(From left) Congress candidate GS Bali, chief minister Virbhadra Singh and Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi at a rally in Nagrota Bagwan near Dharamshala on Monday.
(From left) Congress candidate GS Bali, chief minister Virbhadra Singh and Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi at a rally in Nagrota Bagwan near Dharamshala on Monday.(SHYAM SHARMA/HT)

It was a day of high-octane rallies in Himachal Pradesh on Monday with Rahul Gandhi leading the Congress charge and taking on Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the economy, while the BJP brigade kept up its attack on chief minister Virbhadra Singh over corruption.

The Congress vice-president hit the campaign trail on the penultimate day of canvassing for the November 9 elections with three rallies in Paonta Sahib, Chamba and Nagrota Bagwan in Kangra district. He took a dig at the Prime Minister on demonetisation, the goods and services tax (GST) and unemployment.

“The hasty implementation of GST has ruined small businesses and if the Congress returns to power, much-needed changes will be made in the tax regime,” Gandhi said. “Horticulture, agriculture and tourism are the backbone of Himachal’s economy. Demonetisation has broken that backbone,” he said.

A day after Modi boosted the BJP campaign, the saffron party’s mascot and Uttar Pradesh chief minister Adityanath Yogi kept up the momentum by addressing three rallies at Jukhala, Sujanpur and Jogindernagar. The party’s chief ministerial candidate, Prem Kumar Dhumal, is contesting from Sujanpur. Citing the cases against Virbhadra, Yogi appealed to voters to help make the state corruption-free.

Union home minister Rajnath Singh also spoke at three rallies, including one in Virbhadra’s constituency of Arki. Rajnath promised development.

Rajnath Singh addressing a rally at Arki.
Rajnath Singh addressing a rally at Arki. ( HT Photo )

Information and broadcasting minister Smriti Irani made a dash for Seraj, Rohru and Kasumpti. Her rally at Chirgaon in Rohru struck a chord with women voters as she spoke on development and credited the Modi government for “fast-tracking progress”.

CM’s canvass

Virbhadra got a shot in the arm with Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh addressing rallies at Jhanduta and Nalagarh. Amarinder kept up the attack on the Modi government for demonetisation and GST.

Uttarakhand chief minister and BJP leader Trivendra Rawat addressed a rally at Anni and Rampur after party president Amit Shah cancelled his trip. “The flow of funds to hill states has gone up after the Modi government took charge in Delhi,” he said.

Congress deputy leader and Rajya Sabha member Anand Sharma addressed a press conference in Shimla and attacked the Modi government on the rising prices and state of the economy.

Last day of campaign

Rajnath will address rallies in Chamba and Hamirpur on Tuesday, while Irani will be headed for Jhiri (Drang), Dada Sibba (Jaswan Pragpur) and Bharedi in Hamirpur district.

Rawat will address a rally at Dodra Kwar in Rohru and Dhumal will campaign in Jogindernagar.

Virbhadra will be at his constituency of Arki and will also campaign in Shimla rural, the asssembly seat he has vacated for his son Vikramaditya Singh.

First Published: Nov 07, 2017 15:38 IST

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