Hooda detractors make themselves heard (Haryana Newsletter)

January 15th, 2012 - 2:08 pm ICT by IANS  

Chandigarh, Jan 15 (IANS) As Bhupinder Singh Hooda moves closer to completing seven years as Haryana chief minister, some state leaders in his Congress party are beginning to raise their voices against his “authority and discrimination”. Hooda, however, has dismissed the charges.

The latest salvo has been fired by Rao Inderjit Singh, the Congress MP from Gurgaon, who has accused the Hooda government of discriminating against the state’s southern part in terms of development, government jobs, funding and supply of power and water.

Addressing a ‘Jan Chetna’ rally at Mahendergarh earlier this week, Inderjit Singh, a former union minister of state for defence, minced no words while highlighting the “neglect” of south Haryana comprising the districts of Gurgaon, Rewari and Mahendergarh.

“We are fighting for the equitable distribution of development. We want to make the Congress party strong and will not allow it to become anybody’s personal fiefdom,” Inderjit Singh told the rally in an obvious reference to Hooda.

He pointed out that certain projects sanctioned recently for south Haryana were from the central government kitty and largely due to his (Singh’s) efforts.

Union Minister Kumari Selja, who is the MP from Ambala, Rajya Sabha MP Birender Singh and two state ministers — Power Minister Ajay Singh Yadav and Excise and Taxation Minister Kiran Chaudhary — are known Hooda detractors.

In terms of development as well as politically, much attention is cornered by the Jat-dominated districts of Haryana, since most of the chief ministers have been from the community. Rohtak, the home district of Hooda and represented in the Lok Sabha by his son Deepinder Singh Hooda, has been receiving special attention in all spheres in the past seven years.

Among other things, Rohtak has got an Industrial Model Township (IMT) with investment running into thousands of crores, an Indian Institute of Management (IIM) and several other projects.

The timing of the attack on Hooda is being linked to the delayed announcement of the Haryana Congress president by the party high command. The incumbent president, Phool Chand Mullana, a Hooda confidant who himself lost the October 2009 assembly election, resigned after the party’s defeat in the crucial Hisar Lok Sabha by-election in October last year.

Birender Singh, Selja and Kiran Chaudhary were openly blamed by the Hooda camp for the Hisar defeat.

Since a new president is yet to be named, Hooda detractors in the state Congress are trying their best not to let the post go to the Hooda camp again.

“Hooda has started behaving as if he is the ultimate authority and know-all on all affairs in Haryana. His functioning is certainly not democratic. Only a few people, including politicians and bureaucrats, have access to him,” one of the senior leaders told IANS.

However, Hooda made it clear that there was no regional bias in Haryana and “emphasis is being laid to ensure overall development of the state”.

Reacting to Inderjit Singh’s accusations, the chief minister said: “No area of the state is being discriminated against for development.”

Hooda, who became chief minister for the first time in March 2005, managed to get a second term after calling early assembly polls in October 2009. Though the Congress could not get a clear majority in the election, it managed to come back to power with support from independents and later engineering defections from the Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC).

(Jaideep Sarin can be contacted at jaideep.s@ians.in)

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