The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is gearing up for the Assembly elections scheduled to be held in Himachal Pradesh by the end of 2023.
Preparing to repeat its poll performance of 2018 Assembly elections, the saffron party's high command is planning "Mission Repeat" in the hilly state which can be gauged from the fact that BJP National President, J.P. Nadda has visited the state twice in April.
The 2023 Assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh will be contested under the leadership of current Chief Minister and BJP leader, Jairam Thakur but it will also be a prestige battle for Nadda's political presence in his own native state.
The main opposition Congress seems to be engrossed in holding discussions regarding the selection of the party's National President, party's policy, poll strategy, Chief Ministerial candidate and role of poll strategist Prashant Kishor for the future elections.
Buoyed by the emphatic victory in Punjab, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has decided to contest the forthcoming Assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh.
During his two-day visit to Himachal Pradesh, BJP National Chief held a massive roadshow in Kangra on Friday and addressed a public rally there. He also held a meeting with party leaders to review the preparations ahead of the Assembly polls.
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On Saturday, Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party Chief Arvind Kejriwal, while addressing public rallies in Mandi and Kangra, slammed the ruling BJP government as well as the Congress.
Of the total 68 Assembly seats in 12 districts of Himachal Pradesh, a maximum 15 seats are from Kangra district and therefore it will decide which party will win the elections.
Launching a scathing attack at the BJP government in the state, Kejriwal said Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister was impersonating all the schemes being implemented by the Delhi government, adding that the latter would never succeed in doing so.
Responding to the Delhi Chief Minister's statement, Jairam Thakur urged him to speak in a restrained language and said Himachal Pradesh has its own culture and traditions and the former will be given a befitting reply after elections.
The AAP is trying to take full advantage of the Congress' weakness in the state. Given the current poll situation, the BJP too feels it has a direct political fight with the AAP. This is the reason that in order to weaken AAP's political prospects in the state, the BJP has inducted state AAP President Anup Kesari and other big AAP leaders into its party fold.
The BJP is confident that all the state welfare schemes being implemented by it will help the party form the government for the second time in the state and reverse the record of alternate governments elected in the state after every five years.
After contesting Assembly polls in Delhi, Uttarakhand, Punjab and Goa, including all other states, the AAP fought elections on the poll promise of providing free electricity, healthcare and education.
However in Himachal Pradesh, the AAP is fully aware of the impact of the state welfare schemes being implemented by the Jairam Thakur-led BJP government. Therefore, instead of making poll promises, Kejriwal has accused Thakur of copying the Delhi government's schemes in the hilly state.
As the poll campaign in Himachal Pradesh nears, the political slugfest will intensify between the BJP and AAP regarding the implementation and achievement of several welfare schemes concerning the people of the hilly state.
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On the issue of electricity, the BJP-led state government claims that on the 52nd Complete Statehood Day on January 25, it provided relief to rural sections of the state by announcing free electricity up to 60 units. No metre rent, fixed charges and energy charges will be paid by domestic consumers consuming up to 60 units of electricity every month.
Apart from this, 11 lakh domestic electricity consumers of the state are receiving benefits of the state government's move to pay electricity bills at Rs 1 per unit even after consuming 125 units of electricity.
On the issue of receiving free treatment in hospitals, the Himachal Pradesh government claims that under the Central government's Ayushman Bharat scheme, 1.16 lakh patients were treated free of cost till November 2021 on which an amount of Rs 139.16 crore has been spent. Along with this 5.13 lakh families of the state are registered under the Mukhyamantri Himachal Healthcare (HIMCARE) Yojana.
Up to November 2021, 2.17 lakh patients received free treatment up to Rs 5 lakh on which the state government spent an amount of Rs 196.16 crore.
More than Rs 335 crore has been spent on free treatment of people under both the healthcare (Central and state) schemes. The BJP-led state government has decided to conduct X-ray, ultrasound, including 56 types of other tests, completely free of cost in all government hospitals.
Nearly, 1,374 medicines are being provided free of cost in all government hospitals across the state on which nearly Rs 216 crore has been spent till November 2021.
Under the Mukhyamantri Himachal Pradesh Sahara Yojana, nearly Rs 3,000 are being transferred every month to the bank accounts of more than 20,000 beneficiaries of the state.
The BJP is confident that the beneficiaries of nearly a dozen schemes implemented by the double- engine Himachal Pradesh government will help it defeat both the AAP and Congress to form the government for the second time. Ahead of the 2023 Assembly elections, the saffron party is well prepared with a poll strategy.