He is again in the fray from Hamirpur, the BJP bastion from where his father and two-time Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal was thrice elected a Member of Parliament.
For Rhakur, the key issue in this election is development.
“The historical achievements for my constituency and welfare schemes of the Modi government has touched each and every person and reached across each and every household,” a confident Thakur told IANS in an interview.
This parliamentary constituency has a significantly high literacy rate wherein people evaluate development while casting their vote, he said.
The Congress, which has won this seat only once in the past 30 years, has pitted former wrestler and Naina Devi sitting legislator Ram Lal Thakur, 67, against former BCCI chief Thakur, 44.
“Ram Lal Thakur is not only a five-time MLA but also three-time minister, yet he lacks a single achievement to his name. At the outset, he should explain to the public about his contributions,” Thakur said.
“Whereas, during my tenure as a Member of Parliament, the Hamirpur constituency boasts of some of key projects like state’s first AIIMS in Bilaspur, Indian Institute of Information Technology, two medical colleges, a central university, a hydro engineering college, a technical university, three sanctioned railway lines and extension of the Himachal Express train between Delhi and Daulatpur Chowk.”
His fund utilisation under the Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) for Hamirpur was 93.05 per cent in the past five years, the second highest in the state.
Banking on the Modi factor, Thakur said: “The mood of the nation is evident. People have made up their mind to once again elect a responsive, transparent and development-oriented government.”
“People from all walks of life have benefited from pro-people schemes of Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government.”
Thakur, a former Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) chief, said he is certain that under Modi’s leadership in the Centre and Jai Ram Thakur in the state, the BJP would certainly retain all four Lok Sabha seats.
He has undertaken initiatives outside the realm of the Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) to ensure all segments reap benefits, be it State Olympic Games and Sansad Star Khel Mahakumbh for promoting sports or Sansad Bharat Darshan to provide exposure to meritorious students or strengthening primary healthcare through Asptal -Sansad Mobile Swasthya (SMS) Seva.
On the opposition Congress barb that Dhumal is devoting his maximum time and energy in Hamirpur to ensure his son’s victory, Thakur said: “Prem Kumar Dhumal has thrice represented Hamirpur parliamentary constituency and has amazing rapport throughout the constituency.”
“He has been traveling as per the responsibility given by the party across the state too. He is a popular leader and enjoys mass popularity and that may be a reason of concern for the Congress,” he said.
Since his maiden victory in a parliamentary by-election in May 2008, Thakur often faces criticism within the BJP too for being high-profile and jet-setting and for rubbing shoulders with high and mighty.
“It is my responsibility as MP to meet and interact with the PM (Prime Minister) and top ministers of the government to get the best for my constituency. I do my work with utmost passion without bothering for such frivolous comments,” he said.
“When there aren’t any allegations to pose against a person given to the work being undertaken, such frivolous and baseless comments are often made.”
About his innings as BCCI President and the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) chief, Thakur said: aceI have had a fruitful tenure as President of the BCCI and the HPCA. Throughout the tenure, my concentration was development of cricket and cricketers.”
“Today, Himachal Pradesh is counted as a state that features one of the most beautiful stadiums in the world in Dharamsala that has been host to six seasons of IPL and International ODIs. It also houses a high altitude-training centre that is considered as one of the best.”
During the stint with the BCCI, the focus was to ensure that the players across the men’s and women’s teams benefit and their performance today is proof of this,” he added.
Polling for all four Himachal Pradesh Lok Sabha seats will be on May 19. The results will be out on May 23, as in the rest of the country.