On a day when the Prime Minister is in Himachal addressing political rally amid massive fanfare, the Congress today released its manifesto for the upcoming elections making promises that ranged from free electricity to jobs for youth.
The New Indian Assistant Editor Anand Singh caught up with Congress Himachal in-charge Rajeev Shukla on the sidelines of the event in Shimla. Shukla is confident that the Congress party will topple the incumbent BJP government and deliver on each and every promise soon after coming to power.
Excerpts from the interview.
Anand: Today Congress released its manifesto for Himachal Pradesh and made many promises including 1 lakh govt jobs to youths implementing OPS Rs 1500 to women. So how you will fulfil these promises ?
Rajiv Shukla: Very easily. When we promise we ensure that we fulfil those promises. We promises after doing proper homework and we will very easily fulfil those as there are already 65,000 jobs vacancies in HP. We have to create 35,000 more.
Anand: Himachal Pradesh has a debt of over Rs 70,000 crore so how it will be done ?
Rajiv Shukla: They (BJP) have increased the debt on the state and they don’t know how to generate revenue and increase the income. We will increase the revenue and income through tourism, apple business, horticulture, vegetable farming among many others and we will give it back to the people.
Anand: Today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is in Himachal Pradesh and he has said that Congress always makes false promise and false guarantees to the people. What you have to say ?
Rajiv Shukla: What are the false promises we made to the people during Manmohan Singh government? We promised to bring MGNREGA and we brought it. We promised to bring RTI, we did it. We promised to waive off the loans of farmers and we did it. Even during Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh assembly elections we promised to waive off the farmer’s loan and within two hours of the government formation we waived it off.
We didn’t make any such promise that we didn’t fulfil. On the other hand whatever BJP promised they didn’t fulfil any of them.
They promised to provide two crore jobs to youth every year and in last 8 years, have they provided jobs to 16 crore youths of the country? Did they bring bullet train. They promised it in 2014 Lok Sabha election. They even promised in 2014 to reduce the price of diesel and petrol to Rs 30 and Rs 40 pet litre respectively but the prices of Petrol and diesel are still high. They even promised to bring the value of Indian rupee as compared to US $ below Rs 50 but now the value of rupee is above Rs 82 against one US $. They even promised to bring Railways till Hamirpur and hat promise is yet to be fulfilled.
Anand: The BJP claims that it has got double engine govt. What you have comment ?
Rajiv Shukla: The double engine government seems to be moving without any coordination. One engine is moving is some direction while the other in another. So the vehicle is not even moving. It seems that it has halted.
Anand: What do you, feel how many seats Congress is going to get in the assembly polls?
Rajiv Shukla: We are going to get more than 50 seats. And on the first day our government is formed we will clear the files of Rs 1,500 to every women per month, one lakh government jobs to youths and implementation of the OPS.
Elections for 68 member assembly is scheduled on November 12 and counting of votes will take place on December 8. The Congress is campaigning aggressively in the state to dislodge the ruling BJP.