HOODA, Former Haryana CM & Senior Congress Leader, Puts INC on Notice

AHEAD of Assembly  elections in  Haryana, Congress  has almost collapsed  in the northern state  in the neighborhood of Delhi and  Punjab  with its former  two-term  Chief  Minister  and Parliamentarian Bhupendra Singh Hooda, 71, publicly  endorsing  revoking   Articles  370 and 35-A from Jammu and Kashmir  by the NDA Government. Addressing a ‘Mahaparivartan Rally’ in his hometown, Hooda on Sunday said he would not compromise with anyone on the issue of patriotism. “When the government does something right, I support it”, he said. Hooda said: “Four generations of my family have been in the Congress. My grandfather and father were freedom fighters. I cannot compromise with patriotism hence endorsed scrapping of Article 370 but my party lost its way over the issue (meri party bhatak gayi). There is no contribution of Haryana government in this matter hence Khattar government should not try to garner votes in the name of Article 370,”Hooda said. He also announced a 25-member panel, comprising 13 MLAs owing allegiance to him, to decide the future of the party in the state. “Since the issue (to continue with the Congress or not) pertains to the future of people, I can’t take the decision alone,” he said. The decision of the 25-member committee “will later be announced in Chandigarh,” he said. It’s a clear signal to the central Congress leadership to hand over the party’s reins in the state to Hooda, or he would go his own way ahead of the Assembly polls sparking speculations that the senior Congress leader and his son Deepender Singh Hooda, former MP from Rohtak, might quit the Congress after they said they were sidelined by the party high command. The Pioneer newspaper published from Delhi says they may either join Sharad Pawar led Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) or float their own outfit. Earlier, Hooda had a closed-door meeting with top Congress leaders in New Delhi during which they tried to convince him not to take any hasty decision to quit the party as it had always accorded him the due importance. While Haryana’s main opposition — the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) — has seen most of its legislators and leaders joining the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), infighting continues to dog the Congress disillusioning Congress activists and workers. In the October 2014 polls, the BJP improved its 2009 tally of four to 47, followed by the INLD with 19 legislators and the Congress coming third with 15 seats. Two seats went to the Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC), and one each to the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP). Five Independents were also elected. Meanwhile, ruling BJP has launched an aggressive campaign to retain power. Home Minister Amit Shah who doubles as BJP’s National President and Defence Minister Raj Nath Singh along with incumbent Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar have addressed well attended public rallies in various parts of the state which goes to elect new legislative assembly along with Delhi, Jharkhand and  Maharashtra. To woo electorate he announced some   Hooda made several attractive promises .These include enhancement of old-age pension to Rs 5,000 per month, waive farmers’ loans, pension scheme, provide Rs 2,000 per month to women in the Below Poverty Line (BPL) category and free travel for women on Haryana Roadways buses, wheat and rice at Rs 2 per kg for BPL families. He also talked of having four Deputy Chief Ministers, including one from Scheduled Caste (SC) and Brahmin community, on coming to the power and promised free electricity up to 300 units to BPL families, recruitment of 50,000 sanitary workers and simplification of the GST.(picture courtesy : The Tribune)

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