Hold on LPG price rise only till Himachal elections: Jaitley

Last Updated: Fri, Nov 02, 2012 16:57 hrs

Shimla: Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Arun Jaitley said on Friday that by putting on hold the decision to hike the price of cooking gas cylinders is a ploy adopted by the government to gain the maximum political mileage during elections in Himachal Pradesh.

Close to midnight on Thursday, the government had put on hold a decision announced only hours before to hike the price of non-subsidised LPG cylinders by rupees 26.50. The petroleum ministry reportedly sent out a late night instruction to public sector oil marketing firms not to hike the price of cylinders.

"On November 4, when all the votes would be cast by 5 p.m., then this holding out operation will also be over. There is only one way to deal with such a government and that is it should be taught a lesson. Now the people of Himachal Pradesh should decide that they should be taught a lesson because of these policies. We will give them a crushing defeat. Maybe then this urge to bring about such reforms would be weakened by some extent," said Jaitley.

Himachal Pradesh, which is ruled by the BJP and has the Congress as the main opposition, goes to polls on November 4 to elect new legislatures and government.

The main opposition party leader further said that the Congress party ruled federal government was introducing anti people policies in the name of reforms.

"They (Congress) call their anti-people and anti-citizens move as reforms. One reform was to increase the diesel prices. Another reform was to increase the price of LPG cooking gas rates and impose a cap on subsidised cylinders. Bringing FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) into the domestic retail market and place it in the hands of foreigners. All these three were such policies which distressed the common and people from different sections of the society," said Jaitley.

As opposed to Jaitley's attacks on the Congress, the provincial main opposition, the Congress party alleged that the Himachal Pradesh government was not talking about its misgovernance.

Congress party leader Jagdambika Pal told reporters that these polls are being contested on the issue of good governance and misgovernance.

"Both the states of Himachal and Gujarat have government by the Bharatiya Janata Party. But after coming here for the Himachal elections, I have realised that the people of Himachal want a change and there has been an anti-incumbency feeling here. The misgovernance that has taken place in the last five years, we must have seen that in these election campaigns, whether BJP leader like Narendra Modiji or their other leaders, they don't want to fight these elections on the governance of the state government of Himachal Pradesh, or not on the issue of development. They are taking up such issues, which hide the misgovernance of the state government of Himachal. But I am sure that the people want to change Dhumal's government and bring to an end misgovernance. This election symbolises good governance versus misgovernance," he said.

The counting of votes in Himachal Pradesh is scheduled to take place on December 20.

Seeking votes ahead of state polls, various political parties are making efforts to lure the electorate with tall promises by orating about issues like corruption, crimes and lack of development among others.

The legislative assembly of Himachal Pradesh consists of 68 seats, 42 of which were won by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the previous election.

Bharatiya Janata Party is making several attempts to seek another term for Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, Prem Kumar Dhumal, who is leading the campaign.

Former federal minister and Congress leader Virbhadra Singh, who was also five times Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, would contest from Shimla (rural).

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