On Tuesday, Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge arrived in Shimla on a two-day visit to poll-bound Himachal Pradesh and held a meeting of top party leaders. Kharge will address a poll meeting at Banuti in Shimla and Panjhera in Nalagarh on Wednesday before returning to Delhi. Kharge would be campaigning in favor of party candidates for the first time as the Congress chief.
According to some sources, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot was also present during the meeting, where the party’s election strategy was discussed.
Assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat will be the first challenge for Kharge, who has assumed the new role of Congress president, taking over from Sonia Gandhi, who held the top post for over two decades.
BJP leader Nalin Kohli on Tuesday said his party is running a positive poll campaign in Himachal Pradesh based on performance, credibility, and commitments and not on empty promises like the Congress. The state goes to assembly elections on November 12, and the BJP is eyeing to retain power. “The BJP is going into this election on the performance of its government. On the fact that we are a double-engine government and believe that Himachal Pradesh deserves to get more development benefits,” the party’s national spokesperson said here.
BJP president J P Nadda and Union Home Minister Amit Shah held a meeting with party leaders from Gujarat to deliberate upon the candidates for upcoming assembly polls in the state. Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupender Patel, Union ministers Manuskh Mandaviya and Parshottam Rupala, and BJP’s state unit president C R Patil were present in the meeting organized at the Nadda’s residence. Besides, BJP’s national general secretary B L Santhosh and Gujarat unit’s general secretary Ratnakar also attended the meeting.
Chief Minister Jairam Thakur said on Monday that the Congress might be banking on Himachal’s ‘riwaz.’ Still, people have decided to break from tradition this time and bring back the Bharatiya Janata Party to accelerate development. Hooda, however, said it is the voice of ordinary people who say ‘riwaz Nahi raj badlega’ (the government will change, not convention). The BJP government will be voted out in the elections.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had to campaign in Chief Minister Jairam Thakur’s home district Mandi, “which indicates this government is feeling shaky,” he said. Hooda said people have decided to bring Congress to power in the state.
The BJP’s central election committee, comprising Prime Minister Narendra Modi, party president JP Nadda and Union Home Minister Amit Shah, will meet In New Delhi in the evening to finalize the candidates.
The BJP will likely finalize all 183 candidates during the meeting and may announce the list in the next few days.
AAP MPs Sanjay Singh and Raghav Chadha also feature in the list of 20-star campaigners for Gujarat, where the party is eying to make inroads. Former cricketer and Rajya Sabha MP from Punjab Harbhajan Singh will also campaign for the party in Gujarat as a star campaigner. Besides, AAP’s Chief Ministerial candidate in the state Isudan Gadhvi and the party’s state president Gopal Italia in Gujarat, are also on the list.