Leading the election campaign for his party, attending rallies after rallies, with a small induction heater in his hands, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister P K Dhumal is leaving no stone unturned to ensure that BJP is voted back to power in the hill state.
Holding Congress responsible for the increasing menace of inflation and corruption in the country, Dhumal intends to help his state overcome it by giving out free chulhas– “This is our answer to Congress’ legacy of inflation fueled by recent rise in the cost of LPG cylinders. These chulhas will help every household save Rs 800 per month. We will give these free first to BPL families and later to the others,” he said.
The “commoner” candidate has been campaigning hard and gaining the goodwill of the people of Himachal, and aims to live up to his promises in the election manifesto, if voted back to power. He also attacked the Congress for its slew of scams, especially scam-tainted Virbhadra Singh- “Our Government has remained a government of the people. We will continue to work for the common man while the Congress will keep filling its coffers, an example of which is the scams worth lakhs of crores at the centre and those in the state led by Virbhadra Singh, the state Congress chief.”
BJP seems to have caught the nerve of the voters, with their promise of free induction heaters. Dhumal’s root as a farmer’s son too is something people identify with, especially when set against Congress’ ‘royal’ card. “Hamirpur remained neglected till we got the CM. It has now become high profile and since this is the constituency of the BJP’s Chief Ministerial candidate, Dhumal certainly has an edge,” says Om Prakash, a local businessman. Khimi Ram, another local, voices a similar sentiment- “We feel Prem Kumar Dhumal is one of us.” Dhumal’s common man image finds resonance in the public that has been let down by the powers at the Centre, and they feel he can understand their problems on a personal level, and can help improve the condition.
With the assembly elections hardly any time away, that oft-heard ring of “Bolo dil se…Dhumal phir se…” might just be making the right noise.