Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said the Congress has conceded defeat in Himachal Pradesh as its senior leaders have "run away" from campaigning in the state leaving Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh to his fate. At a rally in Kangra, the state's largest and politically key district, he launched a stinging attack on the Congress over corruption, likening the party to termites, and exhorted the people to finish it off by handing over a three-fourth majority to the BJP in the November 9 Assembly polls. The alleged corruption of the Congress and his government's pro-poor development works were the central theme of Modi's two election meetings. He vowed to continue fighting corruption, claiming that it had angered the opposition party which was observing "black money day" on November 8, the first anniversary of demonetisation decision. The prime minister said the Congress has run away from the battlefield conceding defeat in the 68-member Assembly. "Elections are a few days away and senior leaders generally do an intensive campaign in these last few days... It seems Congress leaders have left (Chief Minister) Virbhadra Singh to his fate.
It seems they have not only left him to his fate but rather hung him by his fate," he said. Why such a revenge the Congress is inflicting on him at such an age, Modi said sarcastically. Singh is 83. Lashing out at the Congress over corruption in the UPA government as also the party dispensation in the state, he said its "sins" speak to the people, who will not trust it on the issue of honesty for 100 more years. While most states have accepted his request to do away with interviews for Class III and IV posts, the Himachal government has not, he said, accusing it of breeding corruption in the name of interviewing candidates. Not only senior leaders of the opposition party but even its next generations of leaders have been infected with this disease, he said. "Their rotten mindset and rotten work culture will set rot in India's democracy," he said, asking the people to punish the party in the polls. The Congress was now reduced to propping up rebels against the BJP to create instability in the state following polls but the saffron party was getting huge support, he said. "The Congress will not improve until you punish it severely," he said, claiming that it will not be seen even through a "microscope" following the poll results in Himachal Pradesh as is the case with it in Bihar and UP. He said the state had progressed most when Prem Kumar Dhumal was its chief minister and Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the prime minister as the central government pumped in money which Dhumal used effectively for development of the hill state. Modi said he and Dhumal, who is the party's chief ministerial candidate, will take Himachal to new heights of development, adding that its infrastructure and tourism sectors needed a boost. Seeking votes for a "commoner" like Dhumal, he asked the people to vote out "royals", a reference to Singh. He cited his government's move to provide cooking gas cylinders to poor households, Mudra scheme to boost entrepreneurship, its decision to cap prices of medicine and medical equipment like heart stents, reducing cost of LED bulbs and other measures to showcase its pro-poor and pro- development credentials. Himachal had received more rail and road projects from his government at the Centre than it had received in many years before, he said, adding that development is solution to all problems. Modi is scheduled to address a rally each at Palampur, Kullu and Una tomorrow. Counting of votes in the Assembly polls would be held on December 18.