Hooted by Bharatiya Janata Party workers in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi early this week, Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda on Sunday hit back asking people to avenge the “insult” meted out to the state through the ballot in upcoming assembly polls.
“What happened at Kaithal, you all know... Though tit-for-tat is against our culture, but we will definitely avenge what happened there in a different way. I request you to give them a befitting reply using your power of ballot in the assembly polls,” he told a rally in Panipat.
Hooda had faced hooting from a section of the crowd at the function attended by the Prime Minister in Kaithal after laying the foundation stone of a highway project on August 19. A couple of days later, the PM invited him for a cup of tea to placate him.
The two-time CM said at the rally, where he announced sops for various sections of the people including farmers, that he had intelligence report that such a thing (hooting against him) could happen. “But I ignored that. I thought in PM’s presence people will not do such a thing, but they did not even keep the sanctity of the PM’s post. People of Haryana want to know who these people are and from where they have come,” he said.
“It was a National Highways Authority of India function, a government function, an official function. What was my fault. Did I go there in my personal capacity? I had gone there as a representative of 2.5 crore people of Haryana,” Hooda said.
“I belong to a family which fought for nation’s freedom. There is anger among the people of Haryana and this state does not tolerate such insults,” he said.
Training his guns on BJP, Hooda said the saffron party is banking on deserters. “They (those who left Congress to join BJP) are the same people who enjoyed the fruits of power for 10 years and now they are finding faults,” he said.
The CM asked voters to teach them a lesson. “The people will teach them a lesson and make them bite the dust.” Taking a dig at BJP, Hooda said, “I want to ask them to declare their chief ministerial candidate and the constituency from where he will fight.
Hooda, who gave a report card of his government during the past nine-and-a-half years at ‘Vijay Sankalp’ rally, also launched a veiled attack on Indian National Lok Dal. “My opponents say that Hooda is a property dealer and these words come from those very people who themselves are property grabbers and charge-sheeted in cases.”
Exuding confidence that Congress would form the government in the state for the third consecutive term, Hooda said, “We have prepared the poll manifesto and will release it soon.”
Wooing Dalit and other weaker sections, Hooda announced waiving of loans amounting to Rs 154 crore taken by 1.25 lakh people including those belonging to Scheduled Castes and Backward Classes. He also announced that from November 1 this year, old age and widow pensions will be hiked from Rs 1,000 to Rs 1,500.
The CM said he had analysed in depth the reasons for poor performance of Congress in the recent Lok Sabha polls. “What I found is that the BJP’ss victory was because of hopes built around one man (Narendra Modi),” he said.
“Nobody voted for policies and programmes of BJP as everyone knows that it is the party of capitalists and has never done anything good for farmers and the poor. The people were swayed by the dreams sold to them by one individual as an atmosphere was hyped in his favour,” Hooda said.
A number of senior Congress leaders, including Hooda’s ministerial colleagues, were present at the rally. “I will resign and leave politics if one charge of corruption is proved against me” the CM added.
All the promises made by the party to the people in its 2009 manifesto had been fulfilled “and in some cases we have even exceeded the target,” Hooda further added.
Highlighting achievements of his government, Hooda said, “We made Haryana a hub of education, we waived power arrears of farmers amounting to Rs 1,600 crore and supplied power to farmers at ten paise per unit. Even though Haryana is facing drought-like situation, we will not allow crops to wither away,” he said. “I have a vision to make Haryana educated, developed, healthy and prosperous state.”
Image: Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda during ‘Vijay Sankalp Rally’ in Panipat. Photograph: PTI photo.