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People of Himachal have decided to go with Modi; all other factors irrelevant: CM Thakur

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Shimla, Nov 11: On the eve of polling in the Himachal Pradesh assembly elections, Chief Minister Jairam Thakur on Friday said the state has made up its mind to go with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and vote for the BJP and all other factors have become irrelevant.

Jairam Thakur

In an interview to PTI, Thakur, who is leading the BJP campaign, said the benefits of ''double engine government'' -- the same party being in power at the Centre and in the state -- will trump all issues and make the BJP victorious.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been pulling out all the stops for a second term in the hill state, which has been voting out the incumbent since 1980s.

''We have to admit that the double engine government issue -- BJP at the Centre and in the state -- is in the hearts and minds of the people here and Himachal has made up its mind that it will go with PM Modi,'' Thakur said, adding other factors are irrelevant.

On rebel candidates posing trouble for the party, the chief minister said they would impact the results in six to seven assembly seats, not more.

Grappling with the problem of rebellion, the BJP has expelled several leaders in the run-up to the polls. On Friday, the party expelled state executive committee member Anu Thakur for ''anti-party'' activities.

Thakur, however, exuded confidence that the BJP will win the elections and the "turn of the Congress will not come." He said the tradition of the incumbent being voted out will change in Himachal Pradesh this time.

''The BJP is coming to power where it was not in power and it is getting reelected for five years where it was in government. Look at Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. The tradition is changing. It will change here also," he said.

Taking a swipe at the Congress, he said the grand old party has around seven CM hopefuls, but the electorate do not have faith in the party anymore.

Asked about the old pension scheme which the Congress has promised to restore in Himachal Pradesh, Thakur said the Congress was raising the issue now even though its government led by Virbhadra Singh between 2012 and 2017 had retained the new pension scheme.

''Congress had guaranteed one government job per family in the state in 2012 also. The promise was never fulfilled. People don't trust Congress anymore,'' he said.

He said the Congress did not have any means to fulfil its poll promises -- Rs 1,500 to women aged 18 to 60 years, restoration of old pension scheme, and 300 units of free power.

''We make promises after thorough calculation. We are extending relief (to people) which is different from doling out freebies. Consider our promise of 125 free units of electricity. We studied how much power the poor consume, how much middle class families consume. We decided to give relief to these categories. No freebies, only relief. We did not promise 300 units. That would include people who do commercial activities at home. We included only the poor,'' he said.

The chief minister said, if re-elected, his government would implement the uniform civil code in the state.

Asked about his party's prospects in the elections, Thakur said the BJP has a clear edge.

''We have a clear edge. The fight in Himachal is a direct contest between the BJP and the Congress. AAP has failed to make a mark. NOTA will trump AAP in Himachal," said Thakur.

There is close fight in some seats but the BJP ''has a comfortable edge'', he added.

Election to the 68-member Himachal Pradesh Assembly will be on November 12 and the results will be out on December 8.

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