Priyanka Gandhi Slams BJP Over Himachal Tourism Woes

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra criticized the BJP for damaging small and medium businesses in Himachal Pradesh, especially in tourism. She cited demonetisation and GST as setbacks and promised to strengthen the sector. She also accused PM Modi of favoring industrialists and neglecting local issues like reduced import duties harming apple growers.


PTI | Shimla | Updated: 29-05-2024 16:15 IST | Created: 29-05-2024 16:15 IST
Priyanka Gandhi Slams BJP Over Himachal Tourism Woes
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra
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Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Wednesday accused the BJP government at the Centre of harming small and medium businesses, including the tourism sector in Himachal Pradesh.

Claiming that demonetisation and Goods and Service Tax (GST) implementation hit the tourism industry of the state, she promised to strengthen the sector with a focus on small and medium businesses if the Congress was voted to power in the Lok Sabha elections.

Addressing an election rally in Kullu, Gandhi accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of handing over public property of the country such as ports, airports and coal mines to ''his industrialists friends''.

''Even in Himachal today, maximum cold stores are owned by Adani who decides the rate of apples and the fate of apple-growers,'' the Congress general secretary alleged.

In addition, Gandhi claimed that import duty on apples coming from the US has been reduced, while local producers have to pay the GST imposed on agricultural implements and equipment. Due to this, apple-growers in the state are affected by the imported apples from the US that have flooded the markets, she added.

Gandhi also alleged that people are now ''dying due to the Covid vaccine'' and that the BJP had taken a Rs 52-crore donation from a manufacturer.

Despite being in power for 55 years the Congress could not become the richest party but the BJP has become the richest party in the world in just 10 years, she said.

Speaking at a public rally seeking support for Congress's candidate from Mandi parliamentary constituency Vikramaditya Singh, Gandhi said if the INDIA bloc comes to power, poor women in the state will get Rs 10,000 every month --- Rs 8,500 as promised in the Congress manifesto for the Lok Sabha polls and Rs 1,500 promised by the party's government in Himachal Pradesh.

Voting for all four Lok Sabha seats in the state will be held in the last phase on June 1.

Himachal Pradesh is beautiful and a ''symbol of cultured politics'', Gandhi said, urging people of the state to guide the politics of the country in the right direction.

Attacking the prime minister, Gandhi said, ''Modi ji calls Himachal as his second home but he neither gave any special package to the state nor did he declare the worst ever monsoon as a national disaster.'' Instead, he made every effort to topple the democratically-elected Congress government in the state, she said.

Gandhi was referring to the political crisis involving the six Congress rebels who voted in favour of the BJP in the Rajya Sabha elections and later joined the party. They are now contesting the assembly bypolls as BJP candidates.

''During the worst monsoon disaster in the state last year, people saw the difference between the Congress and the BJP, when every Congress leader and worker was on the ground while the BJP was seen nowhere,'' she said.

The Congress leader also claimed that the BJP-led Centre did not release funds deposited under the National Pension Scheme when the state's Congress government restored the Old Pension Scheme in Himachal Pradesh to make it unsuccessful.

She also targeted the BJP government for the Agnipath scheme, saying it would lead to more unemployment, which is the ''highest in the last 45 years with 70 crore youth waiting for jobs''.

Speaking at the rally, Congress's Lok Sabha candidate from Mandi Vikramaditya Singh said her BJP rival Kangana Ranaut was a ''parachute candidate''.

Ranaut has no knowledge of the state, no affinity with it and remained absent during last year's floods, Singh said.

He said channelisation of Beas river, promotion of tourism, making Mandi a smart city were his main priorities and said he would raise the issue of increasing import duty on apples at the Centre.

Singh also claimed that Himachal Pradesh was the first state to bring an anti-conversion law during the tenure of his father, former chief minister Virbhadra Singh. ''We do not need a certificate of Hindutva from the BJP,'' he said, and ended his speech with ''Kullu ki janta ko Jai Shri Ram''.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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