Virbhadra plans show of strength as Rahul sets date for review

Virbhadra SinghVirbhadra Singh and his team of loyalists, including cabinet ministers, propose a major show of strength at Hamirpur on December 25. (Reuters)

With AICC vice-president Rahul Gandhi fixing December 26 as the date for review of the state government's three-month performance, Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and his team of loyalists, including cabinet ministers, propose a major show of strength at Hamirpur on December 25.

The event, which is expected to see massive mobilisation by the government machinery, and also the organisation, will also mark completion of the Congress government's one year in power. As it is being held at Hamirpur - the home district of former Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal - it could be more a political show than a ceremonial function.

It's not sure if the Chief Minister's team proposes to rope in any senior central leader yet. The rally is primarily aimed to corner the BJP in the Parliamentary constituency, which the Congress has not been able to win for the past 20 years.

Currently Dhumal's son Anurag Thakur - who is also HPCA president, represents Hamirpur. The Congress had been particularly focusing its attentions on Hamirpur after the government had filed FIRs against the HPCA and had even ordered cancellation of the land lease for the cricket stadium at Dharamsala built by Anurag Thakur. The high court had later reversed the government order.

The PCC spokesman Naresh Chauhan admits that the party was fully involved even though it was a  government function. "We will mobilise massive crowds for the rally and it would certainly send a powerful message to the workers that this time all four Lok Sabha seats will be going to the Congress," he said.

The minister for Industry and Labour Mukesh Agnihotri feel that the government during past 11 months had taken several new initiatives of which the flagship scheme of giving skill development allowance to educated youths was going to benefit nearly 83,000 youngsters the by end of the year.

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