After sweeping assembly elections in the vibrant leadership of Prof. Prem Kumar Dhumal, BJP has started its efforts in Himachal Pradesh to hit the next target. Prof. Dhumal has also to keep his promise to party'sprojected Prime Minister Shri L.K. Advani that he would gift all the four Lok Sabha seats to him in the next general elections. Senior party leaders are busy in finalising their battle strategy and party'sorganisational setup is being further strengthened to ensure some increase in its vote bank. On the other hand, badly defeated Congress has not recovered yet from coma, although one and half month has passed after the formation of BJP government in this Himalayan state.
The morale of state BJP is very high as having won the assembly polls recently; the Dhumal government spared no time to begin the implementation of its election manifesto. The common people have a feel of good change. Shri Satya Pal Jain, incharge of the party for H.P. and the main brain behind the victorious strategy in the recent elections, is fully satisfied with the functioning of the government. Talking to Organiser, he said, ?It is said that well begun is half done. From the day one, the change could be seen in every sphere. Prof. Dhumal'sfirst decision after taking oath was to increase the daily wages of poor labourers from Rs. 75 to Rs. 100 and social security pension of the weaker section from Rs. 200 to Rs. 300. Likewise, all the thirty decisions in his first thirty days as Chief Minister are remarkable and widely welcomed by every section of the society.? He maintained that the performance of BJP government would also help to win all the four Lok Sabha seats and the people of this hill state would vote to see Shri Advani as the next Prime Minister.
Shri Jai Ram Thakur, state president of BJP, told this correspondent that immediately after the national executive and national council meetings at Delhi, he convened the state body meetings at Shimla and Solan to chalk-out the future plan in the light of ensuing general elections. Prof. Dhumal and Shri Jain along with all senior party leaders were present in the meetings. Only Shanta Kumar could not make out due to his pre-scheduled visit to US. Shri Thakur disclosed that a big public meeting of Shri Advani would be organised at Dharamshala or Hamirpur in mid of April to create an election atmosphere in the state. On the question that is it not too early to start the campaign for the elections which are due after one year, he said there is a high possibility of early polls as the assembly elections in some states are to take place this year only. He was of opinion that the party must be ready for every situation and said that the BJP has started its preparations with a very high moral.
The party'sfunctions to express gratitude to the people for extending massive support have been started. Simultaneously, an emotional appeal for support in the Lok Sabha elections is also being made. Karyakarta Sammelans in every district are also convened. After these programme, public functions in all the constituencies would be organised. One minister would be deputed in each district to ensure mass participation in the functions.
BJP, by starting an aggressive campaign much before the elections, has further deepened the shock in the Congress which is yet to come out of coma after its defeat in assembly polls. Shri Virbhadra Singh, former Chief Minister, had been to south with his wife Smt. Pratibha Singh, M.P. (Lok Sabha) to evade the below freezing temperature in the hills and fire in his party. He was blamed for party'srout in the resent elections by HPCC chief Smt. Viplove Thakur and some other party leaders and the Congress high command declined to accept his name as CLP leader. Instead, Smt Vidya Stokes was ?elected? on this post on the behest of Smt Sonia Gandhi. State Congress leaders are shoddily indulged in infighting and avoiding to face each other. They have no time to sit together to formulate the strategy for the general elections. Even the meeting of state Congress executive to discuss the causes of defeat could not be called.
But Kuldeep Rathour, general secretary and spokesperson of HPCC, told this correspondent that the reason behind delay in convening the meeting of state executive committee was the freezing temperature and heavy snowfall in the state. According to him, ?By the end of February, a meeting (of executive) would be held to discuss the party'sperformance in assembly elections and the future plan for ensuing general elections would be chalked out. Not only this, we would make all efforts to reactivate all our frontal organisations and particularly the youth to work hard for party'smassive victory in ensuing Lok Sabha elections?
At present, out of four Lok Sabha seats in the state, one of Hamirpur is vacant after Prof. Dhumal left it to become Chief Minister and rest the three are occupied by Congress.