Himachal CM: BJP won’t join freebie war; fight only against ‘leaderless’ Cong

The BJP will not join the freebie battle in poll-bound Himachal Pradesh, Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur has said. Citing the “interest of the state”, Thakur claimed that the BJP will not go beyond providing 125 units of electricity free as “we have done what was doable”.

This stance seems in tune with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s frequent assertions against the revadi (freebie) culture. The Supreme Court too is seized of the matter.

In an exclusive interview to The Indian Express, Thakur said, “Being declared the CM candidate again is a matter of pleasure and pride. But it also brings a great responsibility. Now it is my duty to bring the party back to power”.

Referring to the pre-poll freebies being announced by the Congress and the AAP, the CM said, “The people of Himachal are wise enough to sift through such hollow promises. They are not fools.”

Acknowledging the “grand old party” as their main rival, he says “the Congress is leaderless” in the absence of the late Virbhadra Singh. The AAP, as the third entrant in the fray, is no threat as they have “no standing in the state” which usually sees a fight between the BJP and the Congress.

Thakur is confident of changing rivaz (tradition) of the state which has not given a second consecutive term to the party in power for a long time. “We will come back with a comfortable majority,” he says.

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