The achievements of the Narendra Modi government in the last five years is to be the highpoint that will win the BJP a second term, says Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur while speaking with Harpreet Bajwa Excerpts from the interview…
How do you rate the performance of your government? Are you satisfied?
The one year and three months’ tenure has been full of achievements. My government has following the dictum of ‘sabka saath sabka vikas’ in letter and spirit as a guiding principle in all its endeavours by reframing policies and programmes. The people are fully satisfied and so is the government.
On what issues are you fighting the Lok Sabha elections in the state?
The unprecedented development in the country and state witnessed during the last five years under the dynamic and able leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the main issue. The Opposition cannot match his strong leadership. Our country is today counted as a world power and has notched up remarkable progress in almost all spheres.
The Modi government has not only ensured socio-economic uplift and well-being of every section of society but also laid a sound foundation for a strong and vibrant new India. In addition, the achievements of the present state government have also been unprecedented. Almost every section of society and every area of the state has benefitted from welfare and developmental policies. All these will play a role.
Why did the BJP change two of the four sitting candidates in the state?
Shanta Kumar, MP from Kangra, himself decided to call it a day. So Kishan Kapoor was fielded. It was the decision of the party high command to field a new candidate from Shimla.
Are party veterans like former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal supporting you?
Why not? Prem Kumar Dhumal is a senior BJP leader and has twice been chief minister. Elections are fought collectively. He has been very supportive and as and when the party and government require his advice, he is ready with one.
There have been complaints of vendetta politics in the state.
It is true that earlier, vendetta politics prevailed in the State. Politically motivated cases were framed against adversaries. This vicious cycle continued for years. On the day of assuming office, I made it clear my government will not indulge in the politics of vendetta.
We do not want to divert attention from the core issue of development, but at the same time, I had made it clear that the government will adopt a policy of zero tolerance against corruption and will not hesitate to take strict action against those involved.
The state is facing its worst financial crises with its loan liability at nearly Rs 50,000 crore. How do you plan to take the state out of this crisis?
The present government inherited a loan burden of over Rs 46,500 crore from its predecessor due to financial mismanagement and unmindful expenditure. The challenge was to bring back the derailed economy back on the track and generate income. Our government took some concrete steps to stop wasteful expenditure and identified power, tourism, food processing and agro-based industries as key sectors to improve the financial health of the State.
The government is planning to organise an investors’ meet in June to attract entrepreneurs to invest in the State. This will not only help in strengthening the State exchequer but also open new vistas of development.