NEW DELHI: The BJP will hit campaign trails for Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections on the plank of development, besides training guns against incumbent chief minister Virbhadra Singh for ongoing corruption cases.
With the BJP on its own and with alliance partners being in power in 18 states, the saffron outfit is hoping number 19 in its kitty from the hilly state. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is all set to formally launch BJP campaign in a few days in the hilly state.
Political observers state that Himachal Pradesh is one of the few states where the incumbent government is routinely changed in elections. The Congress had wrested power in the state from the BJP in the 2012 state polls. The BJP government was led by former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal.
Bihar minister Mangal Pandey is state in-charge for the party, who is learnt to be camping in the state. Prime Minister has so far made multiple visits to the state, beginning with inauguration of the subsidised air connectivity through Udan scheme between Simla and New Delhi, besides laying foundation stone of educational institutions and other developmental activities.
However, 83 years old incumbent chief minister is known to enjoy strong following amongst people. Known as Raja, Singh has already been declared the chief ministerial face of the Congress by the party vice president Rahul Gandhi. Singh is likely to make an emotional pitch for one more mandate before he hands over reign to a younger leader.
But the BJP is all set to go extra mile to win the Himachal Pradesh battle, said a senior party functionary, since the Prime Minister had been in-charge of the state when he was the party national general secretary. “Modi knows a lot about the state and its people. The party will contest the elections under his leadership,” added the BJP functionary.