I am willing to contest Assembly elections: Dhumal

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Hamirpur, Oct 11 (UNI) Former Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister and senior BJP leader Prem Kumar Dhumal today said he was willing to contest the upcoming state Assembly elections.

''Provided the party allows me to contest the elections, I am willing to contest the elections,'' he told a press conference here.

Mr Dhumal said he had 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 the 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 would sweep the state Assembly elections, Mr Dhumal claimed the party would win a minimum of 50 seats.

''The party is united and gearing up for the Assembly elections, which has provided an opportunity to the people of the state to vote out the corrupt Congress Government that has failed on all fronts,'' he said.

Referring to Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh's US tour to secure funds from the World Bank and seek 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.

He asserted that besides ensuring that the loans would be paid in Indian currency, the present rate of payment should also be negotiated.

Mr Dhumal also asked the state Election Commission to order removal of hoardings -- that list the state government's achievements -- at all places in the town and other parts of the state.

The model code of conduct should be implemented strictly and fairly, he said.

UNI

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