The Congress on Thursday said that its strategy of raising “state-centric” issues along with topics of national interest like unemployment and inflation helped it secure an absolute majority in assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh.
Speaking to The New Indian after the Congress won 40 out of 68 seats in the hill state, Congress spokesperson Alka Lamba said, “There is a lesson for Congress in the outcome of the Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections. We fought with a different strategy this time.”
“BJP tried its best to make these polls about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership, international issues and the issue of Jammu and Kashmir. We’re determined that this election should be fought on the issues of the state and we succeeded in doing so,” she said.
Lamba, who managed the party’s campaign in Himachal Pradesh, said that the Congress party successfully brought the inefficiency of chief minister Jairam Thakur’s leadership into the spotlight by pushing back the BJP’s attempt to make PM Modi the face of its campaign in the state.
“We promised to bring back the old pension scheme (OPS). The BJP said that it cannot be done. But Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel and Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot proved it otherwise by showcasing the successful rollout of the OPS in their respective states,” she said.
The former Delhi MLA further stated that the outcome of the Himachal Pradesh elections has forced the BJP to accept the prevalence of unemployment and inflation.
When asked about the party’s worst-ever performance in Gujarat, she said, “The people who went there will prepare a report and submit it to the leadership, which will access factors that led to such bad results.”
Lamba said the party is on alert mode to thwart any attempt by the BJP to poach the new-elected MLAs of the Congress party in Himachal Pradesh. “Rajeev Shukla Ji and other leaders are already alert, given the history of the BJP’s history. We will soon form our government in Himachal Pradesh.”
Congress registered its worst-ever performance in Gujarat in results announced on Thursday, winning only 17 out of 182 seats up from grab. On the other hand, its rival BJP emerged victorious with record 156 seats.
Meanwhile, Himachal Pradesh Congress unit chief Pratibha Singh, wife of former chief minister Virbhadra Singh, has called the victory in the state “an emotional moment” for her.
“The credit for our party’s victory goes to the people of Himachal Pradesh. This election was fought in the name of Virbhadra Singh and his legacy,” she said, adding that general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s rallies gave a boost to the party’s prospects.
Pratibha, who is seen as a contender for the CM post, said that the decision on the nominee for the top job will be taken by the party high command after a meeting of newly-elected MLAs, senior party leaders and state observers Bhupinder Singh Hooda & Bhupesh Baghel, and AICC state in-charge Rajiv Shukla.