Q/ What worked for your party?
A/ It (the win) was because of the strategy Priyanka Gandhi [Vadra] and Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel formulated. She campaigned aggressively. She addressed 10 rallies against the combined onslaught of rallies by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and a host of other chief ministers and central leaders. She connected with the people. Her presence increased the people’s confidence. People, especially women, took it very positively that she is the only member of the Gandhi family who has a house in the state. She created confidence in the cadre. We fought under a collective leadership. She visited temples and associated culturally with the state.
Q/ Of the Congress’s 10 guarantees, which do you think resonated most with the electorate?
A/ The old pension scheme and the Rs1,500 stipend for women. It is a state where government employees are a deciding factor.
Q/ What factors led to the BJP’s defeat?
A/ There was anger against the state government because of unemployment and inflation. The issue of Agniveer also played a part, along with problems of the apple growers.
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Q/ Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur won his seat and the BJP won in neighbouring areas.
A/ The BJP has won most seats in Mandi district.
Q/ Where did the Congress gain?
A/ We gained in Kangra, Una and Hamirpur. We have won two dozen seats from these areas.
Q/ What can people expect from a Congress government?
A/ We will bring honesty and transparency in governance. The credibility of the government will increase. It will be the government of the aam aadmi.
Q/ Who will be the chief minister?
A/ It is up to the party high command. It is expected to be decided soon.