I am willing to contest assembly elections: Dhumal

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Hamirpur, Oct 5 (UNI) Former Himachal Pradesh chief minister and senior BJP leader Prem Kumar Dhumal today threw his hat inside the ring and said he was willing to contest the state assembly elections.

''Provided the party allows me to contest the elections, I am willing to contest state assembly elections,'' he said at a press conference here.

Mr Dhumal said he has remained a devoted party worker for several years now and would abide by the party high command's decision on his contesting the elections.

''However, given a chance, I will like to contest these elections.'' The former chief minister was elected to Lok Sabha from Hamirpur Parliamentary seat in June, early this year, after defeating Congress candidate and state Forest Minister Ram Lal Thakur by a margin of over 80,000 votes.

Expressing confident that the BJP will sweep the state assembly elections, the former state chief minister said the party will win a minimum of 50 seats.

The party was geared up and united for the assembly elections, which has provided an opportunity to the people of the state to vote out the corrupt Congress Government that had failed on all fronts, he said.

Referring to state Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh's US tour where he is trying to secure funds from the World Bank and investments from major corporations for the state, he said Mr Singh should clarify whether loans being negotiated would be repaid at the present rate of Rs 39 per dollar.

Besides, ensuring that the loans would be paid in Indian currency, the present rate of payment should also be negotiated, he said.

Mr Dhumal also asked the state election commission to order removal of hoardings, listing the state government's achievement, at all places in the town and other parts of the state.

The model code of conduct should be implemented strictly and fairly and violators were not let off, he added.

UNI

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