Prime Minister Narendra Modi will kickstart the Bharatiya Janata Party’s poll campaign in Himachal Pradesh with a rally in Bilaspur on Tuesday. He will lay the foundation stones of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) at Bilaspur and Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIIT) at Saloh in Una besides inaugurating a steel plant at Kandrori in Kangra.
Modi’s rally is significant as the saffron party lost due to infighting in 2012 and is putting all its might to regain power in the hill state that goes to the polls soon.
The rally in Bilaspur is Modi’s third after the one at The Ridge in Shimla this year and the Parivartan Rally in Mandi last year. The BJP has so far managed to quell intra-party squabbles and is depending on Modi’s charisma to score a win in the elections.
In 2012, the BJP, which has 29 seats in the Vidhan Sabha, lost largely due to infighting between former chief ministers Prem Kumar Dhumal and Shanta Kumar.
This time, the BJP has set a target of 50-plus and has been running a focused campaign with scores of central leaders and chief ministers of BJP-ruled states addressing conventions and rallies in Himachal Pradesh for the past one year. Christened Abhaar Rally to express gratitude for central developmental projects, it will be held at the Luhnu ground of Bilaspur, said Pawan Rana, the BJP’s organizational secretary.
Hamirpur is the home ground of a host of BJP stalwarts, including former chief minister Dhumal, his son Anurag Thakur, and Union health minister Nadda. The rally in Bilaspur is the second mega rally after party national president Amit Shah’s Yuva Hunkar rally in Kangra last week.
Modi will lay the foundation stones of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) at Bilaspur and Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIIT) at Saloh in Una. He will also inaugurate a steel plant at Kandrori in Kangra district. The announcement for AIIMS was made in 2015, but the party claims the project was delayed by the state government. The Congress has already laid the foundation stone of the IIIT. The BJP, however, claims it had done this without necessary clearances.
On April 27, the PM had launched the UDAN air service, connecting Shimla to Delhi. The central government has also announced 61 national highways in the state besides starting Amrit pharmacies to supply low-cost medicines. The BJP is accusing the state government of delaying the preparation of detailed project reports (DPRs) of these roads. Even central minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, who addressed a press conference here recently, lambasted the Virbhadra Singh government for not submitting DPRs of the national highways.
Aware that the rally will be seen as a reflection of the BJP’s resurgence in the state, the party claimed that it expects a gathering of over 1 lakh.
The BJP launched two video series, ‘Vidhayak Ji Jawab Do’ and ‘Main Hoon Himachal’, at a press conference in Bilaspur.