Himachal battle won, Cong ready for 2024: Vikramaditya

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Having won the Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections, the Congress has now set eyes on bigger target — the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, party leader Vikramaditya Singh Tuesday said here.

“(Himachal win) is an important mandate for the party. The battle has been won but the war will be fought in 2024. There is a lot of work that will be done in the coming months,” said Vikramaditya.

The Shimla (Rural) MLA, who held his first press conference after the election results were declared on December 8, said that the party is committed to fulfilling all 10 guarantees it promised in the election manifesto, such as restoration of the Old Pension Scheme, Rs 1,500 to women, Rs 680 crore for youth, and five lakh jobs in government and private sector, in a phased manner.

He added that the hill state is under tremendous debt and the government will leverage all its resources such as excise, mining, and forest reserves to increase its income. A cordial relationship between the Centre and the state is a strong imperative for the development, Vikramaditya said while urging Prime Minister Narendra Modi to have a “big heart” and ensure his support to Himachal Pradesh, his “second home.”

The Congress leader said, “We are a part of the Union of India and financial help is a right of the state. We will request the Centre to show a big heart. We have our rights”.

He said ideological differences between the Congress and BJP will not come in the way of development and cited the example of former Prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who had kept a working relationship with “personal friend” and Virbhadra Singh, when latter was the chief minister.

Vikramaditya is son the six-times CM and had supported his mother and state Congress president Pratibha Singh when she staked claim to the CM’s post, which eventually went to Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu. Amid reports that the Pratibha camp was not happy with Sukhu’s elevation, given that he was not always on the same page as Virbhadra, both CM and HPCC chief has since tried to present a united face.

Vikramaditya said that he stands by CM Sukhu, adding that party leader Rahul Gandhi has directed the government and organisation to cooperate with each other.

On Cabinet expansion, he said it is the prerogative of the CM and it will be carried out soon with a balance between the region, caste, and age. “The CM has tested positive for Covid-19 and is in quarantine. Once he recovers, we will hold the Aabhar Prakat Rally and convene the Vidhan Sabha session. There is a delay but the ball has been set rolling and the Cabinet expansion will also take place soon,” he added.

After Sukhu tested positive for Covid 19, the Vidhan Sabha session that was scheduled to begin from December 22 and the Abhar Prakat Rally, scheduled for Wednesday, in Dharamshala were postponed. Sukhu, who can induct 10 more ministers, had earlier said that the Cabinet expansion will be carried out after the Vidhan Sabha session.

Meanwhile, Vikramaditya said that the Sukhu government is committed to the people and there is support from all quarters. “There will be two-way communication between the party and the public,” he said.

He also acknowledged that the government working to resolve the situation that has cropped up following the closure of cement plants in Bilaspur and Solan. “The monopolistic tendencies of companies need to be checked. The closure (of factories) reeks of crony capitalism. The government is in touch with the parties and a solution will be given soon,” said Vikramaditya.

Claiming that he got work worth Rs 100 crore carried out in his constituency despite being in opposition, Vikramaditya said that seven out of eight MLAs from Shimla district are of Congress and they would unite to work as a team to raise their voice. A total of 5,000 jobs would be created in his assembly segment, he added.

Taking a dig at the former Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, he asked him to keep patience saying change of administration takes time. The former CM has not even vacated the official CM residence, he said.

Replying to a question on Bharat Jodo Yatra, Vikramaditya Singh said: “We are members of Congress party and Rahul Gandhi is our leader and joining the Yatra is our responsibility.”



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