Himachal Pradesh Election 2017: In the two-horse race, BJP and Congress to fight on development
The upcoming election in Himachal Pradesh on 9 November will be fought primarily on the plank of development.
The Himachal Pradesh election, where the BJP is trying to wrestle power from the Congress, is scheduled for 9 November and will be primarily be fought on the plank of development. The political heat is on the rise in the hill state with both the major parties - Congress and BJP - levelling allegations on each other.
BJP’s election in charge for Himachal Pradesh, Thaawar Chand Gehlot, has said that the only issue in the state polls is development, development, development.
While the BJP and the Congress are engaged in a war in Himachal Pradesh, both the parties speak in the same language when it comes to the main issue in the polls.
The India Today-Axis My India opinion poll also indicated that development is the biggest issue in the upcoming election. Almost 82 percent of the people voted for development while seven percent said employment might also be a factor.
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi told a rally in Mandi that Himachal model of development was far superior to Gujarat model. He further said that Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh-led government is ahead in development indicators as compared to the Gujarat government in last five years.
The BJP's vision document for Himachal Pradesh lays thrust on employment generation because it is another major issue in the election. The document said, thrust will be on generation of employment by harnessing tourism potential and developing new tourist circuits.
The document also promises abolition of interviews for class III and Class IV jobs, laptops and free WiFi and job fairs to facilitate unemployed youth.
Meanwhile, Congress too has launched a campaign to woo the youth. During his campaign in the state, Rahul Gandhi said that the Congress government had created 70,000 jobs for the youth in Himachal Pradesh over the past five years compared to only 10,000 jobs by the BJP government in Gujarat over the same period.
The focus on employment, India Today reported, is a key plank for both parties as the youth comprise 43 percent of the voters.
The BJP has time and again accused the Himachal Pradesh government of failing to develop infrastructure in the state.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone of a Rs 1,350-crore All India Institute of Medical Sciences project. He also laid the foundation stone for an Indian Institute of Information Technology at Una and a steel processing plant in Kangra district via video conference from Bilaspur.
ANI quoted the prime minister as saying, Centre would invest Rs 15,000 crore for 13 development projects in Himachal Pradesh.
GDP and human development index
Himachal Pradesh recorded a GDP growth rate of 8.1 percent in 2015-16 and 7.1 percent in 2016-17. The growth rate during 2012-17 has been estimated at 7.2 percent, which is comparable to Gujarat, India Today reported. The Congress party is likely to play up these figures to their advantage.
Senior Congress leader Anand Sharma had attacked the BJP for making a "mockery" of the GST and said that it was not 'one nation, one tax', but "one nation, six tax, and thirty states, thirty tax".
The implementation of the GST coupled with demonetisation has largely been seen as a setback for the saffron part in both the Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat election.
On the human development index, the state ranks at third position behind Delhi and Kerala.
Statistics show how much care the Gujarat government really extends towards the health and immunity of its children. pic.twitter.com/vxazWG1mcd
— Congress (@INCIndia) October 30, 2017
The Social Progress Imperative and Institute of Competitiveness released the Social Progress Index 2017 for the States of India and Himachal Pradesh comes second in the list, reported Business World. The index is a holistic and robust measurement framework for national, social & environmental performance.
The Social Progress Index supplements measures of economic success by directly measuring social and environmental outcomes.
The achievement of the state government in putting Himachal Pradesh at the second position might work in the favour of the Congress.
Development, therefore, remains an important issue which the BJP and the Congress will have to focus on.
A three-time BJP MP from Hamirpur, Anurag Thakur told The Times of India that the saffron party is fighting this election on the plank of development by Centre and the previous BJP government. Congress' Sharma agreed, saying only development would be an issue in the elections as the Virbhadra Singh-led government had undertaken a lot of projects in the past five years.
With inputs from agencies
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