Shimla: Almost a week after his day-long visit to poll-bound Himachal Pradesh, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is again visiting the state on October 13 to launch projects, mainly hydropower, in Chamba — the stronghold of the newly inducted three-time legislator Harsh Mahajan.
Mahajan left the Congress and joined the saffron party by saying the previous party was directionless and lacking vision.
Presiding over a meeting to review the preparedness for Modi’s visit to Chamba on Saturday, Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur directed the authorities to make adequate and fool-proof arrangements to make the visit a historic one.
The Chief Minister said PM Modi would be inaugurating the 180 MW Bajoli Hydro Electric Project, laying the foundation stones of 48 MW Chanju-III Hydro Electric Project and 30.5 MW Deothal Chanju Hydro Electric Project and launching of PMGSY-III.
He said the Prime Minister would address a public meeting at the famous Chowgan, or the public promenade in the historic town, some 450 km from the state capital.
He directed the authorities to make adequate arrangements to ensure that the people do not face any inconvenience.
Thakur also directed the authorities to ensure uninterrupted water supply in the town. He also directed the concerned authorities to launch a special cleanliness campaign in the town, both before and after the public meeting.
The Chief Minister also visited the Chowgan and inspected the preparations.
BJP leader Harsh Mahajan, a former state Cabinet minister who represented the Chamba assembly thrice winning consecutively in 1993, 1998 and 2003, told IANS that the Prime Minister’s visit to Chamba will be memorable with a record gathering.
Mahajan, who for over a decade played a crucial role in strengthening the Congress organisation at the grassroots under Virbhadra Singh, joined the BJP on September 28.
“The Congress at the national level stands directionless and lacking in vision, faced with a crisis of leadership, tainted by sycophancy and corruption. This has translated into a diminishing of its numbers, with some of the tallest leaders and stalwarts of the grand old party being compelled to leave its ranks despite years of dedicated service to the organisation,” Mahajan told IANS.
He was the working president of the state Congress unit when he defected.
Mahajan, who is known for his close ties with party’s national President J.P. Nadda, has been named deputy of BJP’s national vice president Saudan Singh, who is the poll in-charge for Himachal Pradesh.
Before Mahajan, the other prominent leaders who left the Congress were five-time legislator Ram Lal Thakur, who resigned as vice-president of the party committee citing “displeasure” over its working, and two sitting legislators — Lakhwinder Rana and Pawan Kajal.
Mahajan, who was associated with the party from the beginning of his political career and inherited politics from his father late Desh Raj, jumping on the “leave Congress” bandwagon is a setback to the party at a time when the party is struggling to re-establish its credentials in the absence of stalwart Virbhadra Singh, who was known in the political circles to ensure not only the win of his loyalists but also demolish his political adversaries, even those within the party.
The Election Commission, which just concluded its three-day visit to the state, is likely to announce the election schedule this month. The term of the 68-member Assembly ends on January 7 next year.
A seasoned journalist with over two decades of experience, Vishal writes on a wide range of subjects which include biodiversity, climate change and links between environment & development. He also covers politics and other developments in Punjab and Himachal Pradesh. He lives in Chandigarh & Shimla.