Rahul Gandhi staying away from HP because of fear of defeat: Ravi Shankar Prasad

SHIMLA: Senior BJP leader and former Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Tuesday said that Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was staying away from campaigning in Himachal Pradesh to avoid taking responsibility for the party's defeat in the upcoming elections.

"Where is Rahul Gandhi, where is he missing? He is on a (Bharat Jodo) Yatra, but why such indifference with Himachal. Congress' entire leadership, by that I mean effective leadership, why they have such indifference towards Himachal,” Prasad said in a press conference here.

“Poll campaigning will end in a day or two, but neither Rahul, nor his mother (Sonia Gandhi) were seen here," he said.

Prasad said that Rahul Gandhi is scared of losing the election hence preventing the loss of face by not turning up in the state.

"But why is Rahul Gandhi not campaigning in Himachal, we want to ask. Is Congress party scared of a loss? And there are reasons for that, bylections were held in seven assembly constituencies in six states and BJP contested on six seats and won four. Congress did not win even one seat and lost and also lost security deposit," he said.

"In Telangana, from where Rahul Gandhi's Yatra is entering Maharashtra, in the byelection (Munugode in Telangana), Congress candidate loses security deposit.

"So, the clear reason for Rahul Gandhi not coming to Himachal for campaigning is to avoid having to take responsibility for the loss in HP elections," he said.

"Win and loss are part of elections. Their leaders will come on a retreat in Himachal, but when it comes to connecting with people as part of a political process, then they will stay away, what kind of politics is this?" Prasad asked.

"So, I clearly believe that Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi are not coming because they understand what the result is going to be," he added.

Himachal Pradesh goes to polls on November 12.

Congress is eyeing to wrest power from ruling BJP, which claims that people will vote them back on the basis of all-round development they have carried out.

Meanwhile, Prasad called the BJP's women manifesto, 'Stree Sankalp Patra', a “new milestone” in the country's politics.

"Be it their individual empowerment of women, their healthcare, their technological empowerment, their educational empowerment, it is a holistic manifesto," he said.

He accused the Congress of making tall promises without spelling out a roadmap and how to generate resources for that.

"For One Rank One Pension they gave Rs 500 crore as liability, which was nearly Rs 60,000 to Rs 65,000 crore which our government fulfilled.

"I don't blame the Congress party, they know they are not going to win in HP, so what is the harm in promising the moon? They made big promises in UP, Assam, and Uttarakhand too. Everyone knows their track record," he said.

Prasad said Himachal Pradesh is one of the best governed states in India and Jairam Thakur government has done a good job.

When asked why no officer has been held accountable for the paper leak incident in the Himachal Pradesh Police Constable Examination held in March this year, he said SIT is probing the matter and whoever is found guilty will be punished.

Asked about the BJP's stand on the old pension scheme (OPS) which the Congress has promised to restore in the state, he said the government has formed a committee on it.

"We don't do ‘jumlebazi' like Congress. Already the state government has formed a committee on it and will be guided by its report on the issue," he said on the OPS issue.

He said Congress could not do it when Virbhadra Singh led the government in the state, and asked Congress governments in Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan to implement it first there.

"My information is that they have not implemented it in Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan," he said.

As an aside to his party's stance on inclusivity, he said maximum MPs from Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe, and OBC are from the BJP.

Development for all, social justice for all, opportunities for all the marginalised people, the government is moving ahead with this approach, he said.

"The whole inclusive approach of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in taking all the deprived sections of the country together with a positive programme is a great beacon of development," the BJP leader said.

( Source : PTI )
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