Senior Congress leader Randeep Surjewala on Tuesday said a new line of leadership has emerged in Himachal Pradesh and anyone can lead the party.
Surjewala further said that the Congress was headed to a two-third majority in Himachal, which is going to vote in assembly elections on November 8 and counting of votes would take place on December 12. He further said Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur would have difficulty in winning his own seat.
Commenting on the potential challenge being faced by the Congress in the absence of stalwart Virbhadra Singh, who was a six-term chief minister, Surjewala said change is the law of nature.
"A new line of leadership has already emerged in the Congress and anyone can lead the party," said Congress General Secretary Surjewala, adding that party was fighting the assembly elections under a collective leadership and the victory of the party would be the victory of each Congress person.
Asked about All India Congress Committee (AICC) General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra being the face of the Congress in Himachal elections, Surjewala said, "She is our national leader and is spearheading the campaign. All other senior leaders are campaigning. Ours is a collective leadership."
Asked about Rahul Gandhi's absence from the poll campaign, Surjewala said he will be here when the Congress government will be formed in Himachal Pradesh.
He said, "Why is the BJP so afraid of Rahul Gandhi? Why is the BJP so afraid of even Rahul Gandhi's name and his shadow?. The very fact that the BJP is so scared of him proves the point."
Asked about the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) attack on the Congress for making promises without considering its financial implications, Surjewala said, "The truth is that the pot is calling the kettle black."
He added, "The Congress has the economic wisdom, political sensibilities and a sense of proportionality. We know how to run governments and we have run governments in the past successfully and we shall be able to suitably implement our promises and guarantees. Those who are known as 'jumlebaaz' across the world should stop giving 'gyan' to us."
Surjewala attacked the ruling BJP on rising prices of essential commodities and unemployment, saying 63,000 government posts are lying vacant. He also accused the chief minister of failing on all fronts.
He said, "He has proved to be a failed chief minister and is the most incompetent among all chief ministers in the country. If he has failed in the class, how can he be promoted? The people of Himachal Pradesh will do the same with Jai Ram Thakur and it is time to show him the door."
On the old pension scheme (OPS), Surjewala said the saffron party is against it and that the Congress government has already announced it and people are getting pensions under the old system.
He said time has come that people should teach the BJP a lesson about the "loot, lies and deceit" and continue the tradition of change by overthrowing a "corrupt government from the pious Devbhoomi".
"On November 12, let us adopt the guarantees of Congress and make Himachal win," said Surjewala.
He claimed that unemployment rates in Himachal as per CMIE report is 95.6 per cent for the youth aged 15-19, 62.13 per cent for those aged 20-24 years, 26.15 per cent for those aged 25-29 and 14.87 per cent for those aged 30-34.
He alleged, "Why should Himachal Pradesh give a chance to those who ignited the fire of unemployment? The BJP governments at the Centre and in Himachal together have pushed the future of the youth into darkness. Unemployment in the country is the highest in 45 years."
Surjewala said like Prime Minister Narendra Modi's promise of providing two crore jobs every year, the promises of the Jai Ram Thakur government also proved to be 'jumla'.
He said, "The 'guru and chella' (Modi and Thakur) are in competition to become the bigger 'jumelbaaz'. Instead of giving jobs, the corrupt BJP snatched jobs and there were paper leaks in police recruitment, even as the teacher recruitment scam has inflicted deep wounds in the hearts and minds of the youth of the state. BJP's modus operandi is to sell and loot the country's property, put 'India on sale'."
In the eight years of the Modi government, there were "bank frauds" of Rs 5.35 lakh crore and people's hard-earned money was looted, he alleged.
(With PTI inputs)