With the recent visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the hill state of Himachal Pradesh(HP), the Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP) started with a powerful election campaign. The BJP is likely to pitch its campaign on the developmental works carried out in the Centre-State partnership, to stay in power.
Accessibility continues to be one of the prime challenges in the mountainous state. Under the incumbent BJP-led government at the Centre and state, various developments have taken place so far in the state. PM Modi recently visited the state and made significant additions to his dialogue with people and marked several events of infrastructural and cultural importance.
Infrastructure is a key simulator of any nation’s growth. Under the leadership of PM Narendra Modi at the Centre and Jai Ram Thakur in the state, the BJP-led government has completed the projects, whose foundation stones though were laid by the state Congress leaders but never saw the light of the day.
Banking on these development activities and corruption-free governance, Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, Jai Ram Thakur claimed that the hill state has witnessed a spree of development in the last five years.
“During our five-year rule, we faced the unprecedented challenge posed by Covid pandemic but still we ensured that the pace of development was not interrupted. We tried to provide a corruption-free government. The Central Government has given projects worth over Rs 10,000 crore to Himachal”, Jai Ram Thakur said.
Congress Rejects Claims
With HP likely to go for assembly polls in the first week of November this year, the current NDA government in the state plans to use its developmental achievements in the past five years as a strategy to maintain its stronghold in the state.
However, its claims have been rejected by the opposition in the state. In an interview, the HP Congress Committee President Pratibha Singh, wife of Congress vetran Late CM Virbhadra Singh stated that not a single promise has been fulfilled by the NDA state government in the past five years in terms of providing employment and curbing high price rise.
During a Congress rally in Sujanpur town of HP, the leader of the opposition Mukesh Agnihotri also stated, “For five years the government has done nothing. Now, they are desperately asking officials to issue one notification after another. No National Highway was built. After so many rallies by the PM, no package was given”
The Focus Areas
Under the ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas & Sabka Vishwas’ development model, the Himachal government has been implementing various developmental programmes in the state.
According to a Health survey released by India Today in 2021, HP was ranked first among the most improved big states in the country in the health sector. Also in September 2021, it became the first state to inoculate every single beneficiary with the first dose of Covid-19. From 2016-17 to 2020–21, Hospitals, CHCs, PHCs, and ESI dispensaries in the state have increased substantially.
Radhakrishnan Government Medical College in Hamirpur and the recently inaugurated AIIMS Bilaspur, are set to improve the healthcare system of the hill state. It will also ensure affordable and equitable health services. PM Modi laid the foundation stone for a Medical Device Park at Nalagarh in a recent visit to the state. It will be a one of its kind health equipment and device manufacturing zone.
With the launch of the HIMCARE (Mukhya Mantri Himachal Healthcare) scheme in 2019, the state government will ensure that all those citizens from economically weaker sections who have not been covered under Ayushman Bharat Yojana, should be provided with efficient health insurance.
Himachal Pradesh shares international borders. Efficient road connection is thus important for all-weather road connectivity. A milestone was reached on October 3, 2020, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated a 9.02 km ‘World’s longest highway tunnel’, (The Atal Tunnel) connecting Manali to Lahaul-Spiti valley. Till 2014, only 4.4 km of the then-proposed 8.8 km was completed. Soon after which, the construction work took a fast pace and the highway tunnel was finally dedicated to the nation in 2020.
According to the National Highway Development Project under Central Road & Infrastructure Fund (CRIF) in Himachal Pradesh, a total of about 85 projects have been completed. Continuous efforts have been made by the BJP-led government to execute four-lane projects in HP. Some successful examples are Parwanoo-Solan-Shimal-Dhalli NH, Shimla-Mataur NH, Garamaura-Sawarghat-Mandi-Manali NH, and the recently inaugurated 31-km long Pinjore-Baddi-Nalagarh NH.
PM Modi in December last year, laid the foundation stone of the Renukaji Dam project which had been long delayed by the opposition party. He also laid the foundation stone of the Luhri Stage 1 Hydropower project The Dhaulasidh hydropower project, first of its kind in Hamirpur district. HP is a leading state in hydropower energy. Also, the recently inaugurated Government Hydro-engineering College in Bandla will provide a trained and skilled workforce to the state.
To boost tourism activities and manage health emergencies, the BJP government under Jai Ram Thakur is constructing around 38 new helipads. The government has also sent a proposal to the Ministry for Tourism and Civil Aviation for constructing new heliports at Reckong Peo, Chamba, Dalhousie, Jhanjeli, and Jawalaji.
By accelerating the developmental initiatives, the state will get a major boost in the industrial, employment, education, and tourism sector.
Earlier, The Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Anurag Thakur in his address said, “Be it AIIMS, Central University at Kangra, IIIT at Una, IIM in Sirmaur or the extension of the Nangal-Talwara railway line, Himachal has always been given priority by the Centre.”
JP Nadda also while addressing the people recently in the Sirmour district of Himachal announced that, “HP has emerged as frontrunner State in matter of development due to a double engine govt at the helm of affairs in the state”
The Political Pitch
With significant developmental achievements, the present Jai Ram Thakur-led government has maintained a stronghold in the state. PM Modi has been closely monitoring the situation by giving special attention to the state. In the last four and a half years, PM Modi has visited the state several times and dedicated various important schemes and projects. Also the national president of BJP, JP Nadda has his roots in HP, which will be an additional benefit to the party.
Developmental contributions by the double-engine Sarkar will be at the forefront in their campaign for the upcoming assembly polls.