Chief Minister Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu
– Photo: Amar Ujala
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Chief Minister Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu said there was no infighting within the Himachal Pradesh Congress and the fight was only for the chief minister’s post as there were three to four contenders. Had something gone wrong, there would have been a Rajasthan-like situation in the state. He asserted that no Congress MLA in the state would switch over to the BJP and that the party’s government was committed to working for the people. Congress will fulfill the promise of restoring the old pension scheme for government employees in the first cabinet meeting. In an exclusive interview with news agency PTI, Sukhu said that we have spoken to the Finance Secretary. Under a strategy, we know from where we have to get money and where to invest. We have worked on starting old pension scheme and we will present it in the first cabinet meeting.
Said this on cabinet expansion
When asked about the expansion of the cabinet, he said that it will happen soon. He denied reports of some MLAs lobbying for ministerial posts. The chief minister dismissed reports of infighting in the state unit of the Congress, but admitted that there was a tussle for the chief minister’s post. Sukhu said – The wrangle was for the post, this is not the discord of the party. Three-four people were ready to occupy the post of Chief Minister. You can see that till now we have not done cabinet expansion, if something goes wrong then Rajasthan like situation would have happened. The Congress government led by Ashok Gehlot in Rajasthan faced rebellion in 2020 from his then deputy and state party president Sachin Pilot and some other MLAs. Sukhu hit out at the opposition BJP over reports that some Congress MLAs may join hands with it. He said that no member of the Congress would leave the party. He said that the people of the state voted against the misrule of the BJP.
BJP is diverting attention from issues
He said the country was facing various issues like unemployment and price rise, but the BJP was trying to divert people’s attention from the main issue by using various gimmicks, including making fun of Rahul Gandhi’s speech. He appreciated the Bharat Jodo Yatra led by Rahul Gandhi and said that the aim of the foot march is to unite people and remove hatred being spread in the society in the name of religion and caste. Sukhu credited Congress workers for the party’s victory and praised party leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra for devising an effective campaign strategy.
Congress government will fulfill 10 guarantees
The Chief Minister said that his government was committed to work for the welfare of the people and would fulfill the 10 guarantees made to the people before the assembly elections. In its manifesto for the assembly polls, the Congress has promised restoration of the old pension scheme, 300 units of free electricity, a startup fund of Rs 680 crore, one lakh jobs, Rs 1,500 per month for women aged 18 to 60, through mobile clinics. Had made 10 promises like free treatment in every village. Congress wrested power from BJP by winning 40 out of 68 assembly seats in the hill state of Himachal. The party then chose 58-year-old Sukhu as chief minister over a few other contenders, including state party chief Pratibha Singh and Mukesh Agnihotri. Sukhu, a four-time MLA from Nadaun in Hamirpur district and son of a bus driver, was sworn in as chief minister on December 11. While Agnihotri was sworn in as the Deputy Chief Minister.