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Haryana

Hooda’s main challenge is to save his bastion from BJP

September 22, 2019 06:41 AM

COURTESY TOI SEP 22

Hooda’s main challenge is to save his bastion from BJP
Has Arm-Twisted Cong Top Brass Into Removing Tanwar, Getting LoP Post
Manvir.Saini@timesgroup.com

Chandigarh:

The big challenge before Congress leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda, who is facing a slew of CBI cases into land acquisition and plot allotment during his terms as the chief minister, in the upcoming assembly elections is to retain his own bastion of Old Rohtak district — assembly seats in the Rohtak, Sonipat and Jhajjar districts of the state.


Hooda had managed to win 13 assembly seats in 2014 despite the Modi wave but changed equations have turned the tables in favour of the incumbent Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) after his own humiliating defeat in Sonipat Lok Sabha election. His son and three-time MP Deepender Singh Hooda’s defeat from Rohtak too was setback for the Congress strongman, cutting short his political stature.

The CBI and ED cases have also added pressure on Hooda as he is facing investigations in five major land allotment and acquisition cases. The CBI has already filed chargesheets in two of the cases and investigation is going on in the remaining three cases.

After months of struggle and threatening the Congress high command with a split, Hooda managed to oust his detractor Ashok Tanwar from the post of the Haryana Congress president and was appointed the legislature party leader and was given the post of the leader of opposition.

Despite the Hooda’s bravado and announcing a slew of promises at his August 18 rally in Rohtak, it will be an uphill task for him to retain assembly seats in his stronghold.

BJP, flush with its victory in the Jat-dominated areas across the state in the Lok Sabha polls, has adopted a special strategy in Rohtak, Jhajjar and Sonipat districts, with all senior party leaders constantly touring the three districts.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union home minister Amit Shah and BJP working president J P Nadda have been visiting the area and have recently addressed rallies and party events here.

According to sources in BJP, like the parliamentary elections, the party is looking forward to taking him on in all the nine constituencies through different issues.

Senior ministers Manish Grover, Om Parkash Dhankar and Capt Abhimanyu have been regularly visiting these districts and BJP has been able to rope in local leaders like INLD’s Sanchit Nandal, Shamsher Kharkhara and Balraj Kundu, and Hooda confidant and former mayor Renu Dabla to join the party and strengthen its base in rural and urban Rohtak.

BJP has already managed to break the INLD which has now been reduced to three seats out of 19 it had won in the 2014 elections. Many senior INLD leaders, including former legislators and parliamentarians, too have joined BJP and the party’s focus is on these 13 seats in the Hooda bastion.

The Congress has a total 17 seats in the assembly, including 13 from the Hooda stronghold of Rohtak and Sonipat parliamentary constituencies. The remaining four seats were won by the Bishnois in Adampur and Hansi, Kiran Choudhary from Tosham and Randeep Surjewala from Kaithal.

These 13 seats had put Hooda in a dominating position and had helped him build pressure on the Congress top brass to give him control of the party in the state

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