Congress banks on Virbhadra to ensure poll win
Congress banks on Virbhadra to ensure poll winAnand Bodh | TNN | Oct 9, 2017, 06:15 IST SHIMLA: Assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh have become interesting with Congress announcing Virbhadra Singh as its CM candidate in a bid to be one up on the BJP, which has projected Prime Minister Narendra Modi as its face. The BJP was far ahead of the Congress in poll campaign but now with the leadership issue settled, Virbhadra and his team have decided to intensify the campaign.
During the Bilaspur rally of the BJP on October 3, Modi had targeted Congress leadership, including Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Virbhadra on corruption issue and had asked the people of the state to throw the "zamanati sarkar" out of power in the coming assembly elections. Despite this, the Congress projected Virbhadra as its chief ministerial candidate, realising well that only he has the ability and mass support to ensure victory of Congress candidates, sources said.
They further said that stopping the BJP's winning wheel has become a challenge for Virbhadra as for the last few months he had been demanding a free hand for the elections. "Now, it is a challenge for Virbhadra to bring the party back to power in a state, where voters have a track record of changing government after five years," said a Congress leader from the rival faction.
Supporters of Virbhadra are elated with the announcement as they feel Rahul Gandhi has taken the right decision as no other state leader had the calibre to counter Modi wave. They said that with his projection now they would intensify the poll campaign in the coming days to ensure the return of party to power.
"Earlier, the leadership had not decided due to which campaign had not gained momentum. We hope that in the last three years, decisions of Modi government, especially like the GST, demonetisation and keeping minimum balance in the bank has hit the common people and this gives us hope that people will vote against the BJP in the assembly polls," said a senior Congress leader from the Virbhadra camp.
Interestingly, while Rahul Gandhi has tried to end factionalism and infighting by projecting Virbhadra, an atmosphere of confusion is prevailing in the state BJP with the high command maintaining a guarded silence about its chief ministerial face. In Bilaspur rally, though Modi had mentioned the name of leader of opposition Prem Kumar Dhumal in the beginning of his speech but he praised Union health minister J P Nadda for more than four minutes in his around 44 minutes speech that has further deepened the confusion in party cadre.
In social media, supporters of Nadda are claiming that by mentioning him and praising his work as Union health minister, Modi has given a clear hint whi le there are some claiming that by mentioning Dhumal's name first, Modi has signalled his importance in state politics. While BJP is yet to clear the confusion, many BJP supporters feel a delay in finalising the names could cost a few seats to the party in the coming elections.
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