There will be no politics of revenge if the BJP comes to power in Himachal Pradesh, says the party’s chief ministerial candidate Prem Kumar Dhumal, asserting that restoration of law and order and eliminating the mafia in the state will be his first priority. “There will be no revenge. We will like to devote our time for the development of the state. We will focus on restoring democracy and values for which the government is elected. Law and order will be established so that drug mafia, mining mafia and all these mafias are controlled,” Dhumal told IANS in an interview at his Hamirpur residence. Confident of winning the November 9 Assembly elections, Dhumal said he would reinstate the safety, security and self-respect of the people, otherwise ruined by the Congress government led by Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh. “Safety, security and self-respect of people are the main responsibilities of any government. In the last five years, the law and order has collapsed and the anti-social elements are dominant.”
Accusing the Congress government of establishing a mafia raj, he said that Virbhadra Singh turned this “dev bhumi”, the land of gods, into “drug bhumi and crime bhumi”. “People in the state feel they are governed by the mafias. Forest mafia is cutting trees. If officials try to stop, they are beaten up and killed. Mining mafias are transporting minerals to other states and locals are being deprived.” He said the liquor mafia and the tender mafia are also ruining the natural resources of Himachal. “The state government had formed a Beverage Corporation. Out of 29 such corporations, 27 were running in losses. Suddenly, last year Beverages Corporation of Himachal Pradesh was constituted just to benefit some people. “Through this, the government started to supply liquor in the state but no infrastructure was created. This gave birth to many new liquor mafia. There is industry in the state for transfer and postings of government officials. Tenders are given to favourites.”
Dhumal alleged that Hoshiyar Singh, a forest guard, was killed just because he saw and recorded on his mobile phone how some people were carrying out illegal felling of trees. But the state government turned his murder into a suicide case, he said. “There are many such examples. First time in the history of Himachal Pradesh, the High Court has intervened in the cases of Gudia, who was raped and brutally murdered in Shimla, and also in the case of Hoshiyar Singh,” he said. The court has ordered a CBI probe in both the cases. “These are the issues which show the character of this government.” Dhumal said common people have lost faith in the government and police because of such incidents. “My first task would be to reinstate the confidence of the people into government. My priority would be to give right posting to honest and efficient police officers so that confidence is reinstated and criminal elements and mafias feel insecure. The dev bhumi will be brought to its old glory.”
He said his government would form an anti-drug squad in the name of Hoshiyar Singh that would be operative 24/7 in the Chief Minister’s office to note every complaint. The BJP leader said he would constitute a squad of ex-servicemen in the name of Himachal’s first Param Veer Chakra winner Major Somnath Sharma to check anti-social elements and help the police. He said the state government was under a Rs 50,000 crore debt and that his government would try to get the state to get rid of these debts and be self-sufficient. “I think the time of giving packages is over. The present government was getting Rs 40,000 crore but after Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister, the state was given Rs 1.15 lakh crore. The share in central taxes was also increased by the present union government to 42 per cent from 32 after 14th finance commission.
“We have already got packages for 69 National Highways, for three four-laning of roads and six bridges. When Rs 70,000 crore will be invested in the state, a number of economic activities will take place and number of people will be engaged in this. Employment will be generated,” he said. Asked why the BJP changed its strategy and announced a chief ministerial face in Himachal, Dhumal said: “In small states, people like to know the face with whom to interact later on. Everybody wants to have direct contact with the chief minister. Himachal election has always been fought by projecting a face.”