Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Monday kickstarted the party’s poll campaign in poll-bounded Himachal Pradesh.
Addressing a rally at Mandi in Himachal Pradesh, Sonia focused on the subject of corruption. Sonia said the Congress has acted sternly in dealing with corruption. She said the party is bidding to topple the BJP from office in Himachal Pradesh.
“Corruption is a cancer, which has spread to our entire system. We brought RTI to fight corruption. We dealt with corruption related complaints sternly. BJP is only against Congress not against corruption,” she said.
On other issue, she said, “Rise in price of essential commodities is a concern for us. Congress ruled state government's reduced VAT, but why Himachal Pradesh govt didn’t reduced VAT.
UPA decided to bring FDI. BJP is unnecessarily creating noise. We have left it to the state government whether to implement FDI in their respective states or not,” she said.
Battle lines have been drawn for multi-cornered contests with 459 candidates remaining in the field for 68-member Himachal Pradesh Assembly going to polls on November 4. A maximum number of 16 candidates are in the fray from Dehra, followed by Dharamsala (14), Arki (11) and Mandi and Gagret (10 each).
Fifteen constituencies each would witness five-cornered and six-cornered contests while seven candidates are in the field in thirteen constituencies, ten in eight constituencies and four in remaining constituencies.
Top contenders- Chief Minister P K Dhumal, former Chief Minister and HPCC president Virbhadra Singh and leader of the opposition in Vidhan Sabha Vidya Stokes -- are locked in a seven-cornered contest in Hamirpur, Shimla (Rural) and Theog.
Dhumal is pitted against Natinder Thakur; Virbhadra Singh is facing BJP greenhorn Ishwar Rohal while Vidya Stokes is facing formidable rivals Rakesh Verma (BJP) and Rakesh Singha (CPI-M).
The ruling BJP and Congress are contesting all 68 seats while the BSP has fielded candidates from 66 constituencies, followed by Himachal Lokhit Party (36), TMC-25, LPJ-18, CPI(M)-16, SP, NCP and Swabhiman Party 15 each, CPI-7 and Shiv Sena -4.
As many as 105 independents, including about one and a half dozen BJP and Congress rebels, have also entered the fray.
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