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Home > News > Interview

The Rediff Interview/Prem Kumar Dhumal

February 14, 2003

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal is confidenthis Bharatiya Janata Partywillreturn to power in next fortnight'sassembly election."We have done tremendous development work in Himachal Pradesh in the last five years," he told Chief Correspondent Onkar Singh in an exclusive interview in Shimla.

Dhumal has comeunder attack from Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, a Congressman, who alleges that
his Himachali counterpart has indulged in corruption. Hehas now filed a defamation suit against Captain Singh and plans to introducea bill to curb suchallegations ifhe wins the election.

You have announced the formation of new districts in the state after the election. Is itfeasible and necessary?

Of course, this is feasible. That is why weannounced the formation of new districts once the BJP returns to
power. Our attempt is to reach out to the people. Keeping in view the needs of the people and to make the administration more effective it is necessary to set upnew districts.People need not travel long distances to get their problems solved.

A few months agoyou made Dharmshalathe state's second capital. Was itnecessary?

Dharmshala has a unique location. It iscentral toChamba, Kangra, Hamirpur, Unna, Mandi, Bilaspur and Kullu.
During winter it becomes difficult for poor people to come to Shimla and get their problems redressed. In our bid to provide services to them at their door step wedecidedthe government should function from Dharmshala in winter.

Won't you incur more expenditure in moving your governmentfrom one place to another?

We are not transferring the entire capital from Shimla to Dharmshala. Only important functionaries will go on tour. We can have our cabinet meetings in Dharmshala in winter. We could discuss so many thingsthrough the Internet. If necessary we can resort to videoconferencing to arrive at quick decisions.We wouldsavea lot of money as well.

Captain Amarinder Singh has leveledallegations of corruption against you.

By making those baseless,trivial charges he has not only hurt me,he has hurt the sentiments ofself-respecting Himachalis. We feela grave insult has been heaped on the people of Himachal Pradesh by thefeudalistic chief minister
of Punjab who is unnecessarily meddlingin the affairs of Himachal Pradesh. He has made wild allegations. He has no moral right to do so. I have taken him to courtfor making those allegations. He willpay for it.

He saysyou have gone to court to prevent further damage to your reputation. Once the election isover, you willwithdraw the case.

There is no question of withdrawing the case. My reputation does not depend uponallegations made by Captain
Amarinder Singh. I have been in public life for30 years. The people of Himachal Pradesh know me. I had declared my assets onApril 5, 1998 after I took over aschief minister. This is lying with the speaker of the state assembly. I have distributed alist of my properties to the media as well.

Amarinder Singh is trying to please the Congress high command. The people of Himachal Pradesh willgive him a fitting reply. They willgive their verdict onFebruary 26 and tell him that the days of fedual lords are over. This is democracy and we believe in it.

You have saidHimachal Pradesh will introduce anti-conversion legislation.Will it be on the lines of the lawadopted inTamil Nadu or the one Narendra Modi is contemplatingin Gujarat?

It has become necessary to bring this bill becausewe have been getting reports that some forcible conversions are taking place in the state. We will study the law inTamil Nadu and other states and then have an anti-conversion bill of our own. We want to nip in the bud efforts to convert people by force or by luring them.

Willyour party returnto power?

TheBJP willreturnto power with a thumping majority. We willget more than a two thirds majority. The Congress is indirectly helping usby resorting to falsehood and malicious propaganda against the state administration,particularly my family.


Is Himachal Vikas Congress leader Sukh Ram a factor in this election?

Nobody can deny that Sukh Ram is a factorin the assembly election. But no one willbe allowed to stand in the way of the BJP wave.

What would be your immediate goals ifyou returnto power?

My immediate goal would be to provide more and more relief to the people of Himachal Pradesh, provide employment tounemployed youth and make Himachal a prosperous state. We would also make surethere isno scope for character assassination. In the budget session we willpass a bill that would make it mandatory for every MLA to declare his assetswithin three months of getting elected. These declarations would be available with the speaker. Anyone could go to the Lok Ayukta ifsomeone has filed a false declaration.

Design: Uttam Ghosh

The Rediff Interviews

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Number of User Comments: 6




Sub: Dhumal's interview

The impression among all the Indians here in United States is that the BJP only indulges in total lies and not trustworthy in their objective ...


Posted by Krishan k Arora





Sub: BJP will win in HP

Yes , BJP will regain the power in Himachal Pradesh and I congratulate our HP CM for completing the full term in the office. WISH ...


Posted by Sudhir





Sub: BJP will win HImachal Pradesh

After completing 5 years in term, the BJP seems to be headed for another 5 years in Himachal Pradesh. A blend of good and honest ...


Posted by Dinesh





Sub: BJP has done well so must win elections Vijai Nairobi

Himachal has progeressed well under the leadership of Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal. I wish him all the best from Nairobi Kenya


Posted by Vijai Singh Chandel





Sub: BJP HAS DONE VERY WELL FOR THE LAST FIVE YEARS

BJP RULING GOVERNMENT HAS DONE WELL AT ALMOST ALL THE FRONTS AND I WOULD LIKE TO CONGRATES THEM (SPECIALLY ALL THE MINISTER IN HP GOVERNMENT) ...


Posted by om parkash




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