It promises to be the most exciting election campaign in the mountains in recent memory. With several rallies by PM Narendra Modi, the BJP has hit the ground running. Arvind Kejriwal’s AAP started off strong but has been heavily focused on Gujarat lately. The congressional campaign rests on the shoulders of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra but has yet to gain momentum. News18 is touring the state to assess public opinion and political strategies ahead of the 2022 Himachal Pradesh elections.
Himachal Pradesh’s Sirmaur is preparing to welcome Union Home Secretary Amit Shah and express her gratitude in meeting their long-standing request to grant them tribal status on Saturday.
Shah will be in Sataun Kasba of the Pachhad constituency, which falls in the Trans-Giri region, and address a gathering that includes people from the Hatti community.
The Prime Minister of Himachal Pradesh, Jairam Thakur, who is overseeing the preparations for the event, will also attend.
The Union Cabinet approved in September to include the Hatti community in the Trans-Giri area on the list of notified tribal communities.
“The Hatti community will thank Union Home Secretary Shah for delivering on the promise,” added a senior party leader.
The event will send a message to Hattis that the BJP has looked after its interests, a senior party leader said, as the decision to give the community tribal status will have implications for Sillai, Paonta Sahib, Renuka and Pachhad constituencies. Apart from that, the Hatti community has a significant presence in Nahan, Solan, Shimla, Shimla Rural and Choupal seats. Parliamentary elections in Himachal are expected to take place in the next two months.
Thakur proactively pursued the issue of Hatti community gaining tribal status. While social, cultural and geographic similarities exist between the Hatti community of the Trans-Giri region and the Jaunsar community of the Jaunsar-Bawar area of Uttarakhand, the latter had been granted tribal region status in 1968.
The promise was made by the BJP from 2009, which had been fulfilled by the center last month. Hattis are a community whose traditional occupation is selling native crops, vegetables and meat in places called ‘Haat’, a local market.
There are a total of 154 panchayats in the Trans-Giri area. Around 1.60 lakhs of the state’s Hatti community will benefit from their tribal status, according to senior BJP leaders in the state.
Shah launches campaign song
Sources in the party said Shah is likely to sing the campaign song, which will be sung by legendary singer Udit Narayan, during the event. The song focuses on the achievements of the twin-engine government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and CM Thakur.
“The song has elements of Himachal in tone and delivery. Any Himachali would relate to it,” a source said.
The BJP won 44 of Himachal’s 68 parliamentary seats in the 2017 elections. The state elections are coming up this year.
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