The assembly elections in the state are just around the corner and political hierarchy is steaming in the state. In the wake of things The News Himachal caught up with Senior Congress leader Vidya Stokes to discuss the party stance for the coming elections.
TNH: Assembly elections are approaching, what are your strategies to approach people?
Vidya Stokes: Corruption during BJP Government is enough to derail this corrupt Government. In the last four years, the Government has failed in every section. Growth and development has come to an end and this Government is busy counting about various schemes that have been basically initiated by the Centre Government, and they have even failed to implement them properly in the State.
TNH: You have raised the issue of corruption many times in the assembly, road shows and wherever possible, but BJP hasn’t paid any heed. What do you have to say?
Vidya Stokes: Yes I agree, they are doing it because they are projecting themselves as a superpower and in the coming election. Everything will be sorted out as now voters have tested and all know now that BJP has failed to deliver good governance.
TNH: So you think Congress will easily march to the power this time?
Vidya Stokes: Yes, definitely, we will sweep this election.
TNH: Great! You had been elected from Theog and then you shifted to Kumarsen Constituency, but again delimitation has sent you back to Theog. Roads and other basic facilities are in tatter in this area, these are the first and foremost challenges waiting for you, how do you think you will handle?
Vidya Stokes: Yes, present Government is to blamed for this; they haven’t even bothered to maintain the NH of the State. It is shocking and cumbersome to travel to Theog via Kufri as dust and big potholes welcome vehicles. From last four years, PWD department has not even done patch work on that road. I have continuously reminded concerned department to maintain that road, but as I have earlier told that this Government is not listening to anything. Every time they talk about development, growth, but I haven’t found that in entire State. Not only Theog, if you go to Chopal, Rohru, Baagi, the condition of roads is deplorable. Upper region of Shimla is totally dependent on Apple crop and bad roads have spoiled everything. Crop worth crores have damaged due to the bad roads. I am shocked Horticulture Minister is from Kotkhai-Jubbal and even he could not ensure better facilities for the growers. Congress has worked for the common people, growers have not suffered in our tenure. They are blaming for the inclement weather, but we have also faced such weather, but we had delivered better then this government in any condition.
TNH: What are your opinion on Youth Congress and its election and FAME decision?
Vidya Stokes: Youth Body is separate body and I don’t interface with it, so I don’t have any opinion on it.
TNH: Don’t you think Youth body is creating trouble to unity of the Party?
Vidya Stokes: Yes you can say that for now, it will take little time before it’s properly introduced. Its basic idea is to introduce more and more youth of the State and give them some organizational experience, so that common Party workers will be able to rise according to their skills in the party setup. I am hopeful that more youth will come forward and will take part in it.
TNH: What is your opinion on Private universities in State? You were vocal about corruption in it?
Vidya Stokes: I am not against them, but my motive is quality education. I cannot allow untrained teachers to spoil the career of Himachal youth. If they are coming with the University they should have trained staff and quality infrastructure. I am not against them, but failed to understand what these universities are doing in Himachal. Opening a university has become a joke in Himachal Pradesh; even Universities are coming up in 10 KM distance. My reservation is that students should get good and quality education; hard earned money of parents should not be wasted. Education is an assert for every youth as it will guide them in entire life, as good education will make student good citizen and for the sake of future of the nation I will thoroughly examine it, when we will come to power and they will have to improve, otherwise will have to go.
TNH: You are also heading the National Hockey Federation, what step you are taking to improve the standard of the sport in Himachal as we are going unnoticed?
Vidya Stokes: No, No we are not going unnoticed we are improving day by day. Himachal women Hockey team is doing well. Federation is introducing revival plan and trained coaches will be first step towards it. We will come up with more astro turf in the state and will introduce hockey on School level more aggressively. I am sure Hockey will once again make country proud on international level and Himachal will play an important roll in it.