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Parties welcome poll schedule, BJP hopes to retain power

The ruling BJP and congress welcomed Friday’s announcement of the Himachal Pradesh Assembly poll schedule, with both parties claiming to rise to power in the state. The ruling BJP is counting on the achievements of Union and state governments, while the opposition congress promises to restore the old pension scheme for workers, apart from providing five lakh jobs.

The elections will be held on November 12 and the count will take place on December 8. The BJP and Congress have provided alternative governments in the hill state for more than three decades. However, the BJP hopes to go against the trend this time around.

Himachal Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur welcomed the election schedule and claimed there is no room for the Congress to come to power. The Congress has no future in Himachal Pradesh and it is not in a position to take power in the Centre, he said. Thakur said the BJP will fight the election with full force. He said the state has been awarded several projects worth more than Rs 10,000 crore in the past five years with the blessings of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Be it the AIIMS, Bilaspur, Atal Tunnel in Rohtang, Bulk Drug Park, Medical Device Park, special status or the promotion of four-lane works, all this could only be possible with the blessings of Modi, he added. Meanwhile, congressional spokesman Alka Lamba said her party is all set for the polls.

In a video statement, Lamba said the poll announcement put an end to the “misuse of government apparatus” by the ruling party’s twin-engine government. Priyanka Gandhi, general secretary of the All-India Congress Committee, had launched the congressional campaign on Friday by addressing a rally in Solan and said the party will be a united face.

People want change and they will vote in Congress, she added. A direct contest between the BJP and the Congress is likely to take place in the state, where the Aam Aadmi party will also try its luck.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has held a series of demonstrations in parts of the state in recent months. The Union’s Home Affairs Minister Amit Shah is scheduled to release the BJP’s theme song during his visit to Himachal Pradesh on Saturday. In the 68-member Assembly, the BJP currently has 43 members, followed by 22 from Congress. There are two Independents and one CPM MLA in the Assembly.

Jai Ram Thakur is the main ministerial face of the BJP for the polls while the Congress will go without CM face.

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