Peeved at being ‘sidelined in his own ministry’ and accusing CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda of pursuing a lopsided development policy in the state, Haryana Power Minister Captain Ajay Singh Yadav resigned from the state Cabinet on Tuesday. He has however not resigned from the Congress or the Assembly.
The development comes at a time when political circles are rife with speculation that senior Congress leader and Rajya Sabha MP Birender Singh may switch over to the BJP. Yadav, a six-time MLA from Rewari, had been unhappy over his region ‘being discriminated against in jobs and development’ and at the recent appointments of Hooda loyalists to various plum posts.
He met the CM at the latter’s residence in the morning and handed over his resignation. Speaking to The Indian Express, he said the CM urged him to withdraw his resignation. “But I told him, ab aur jillat nahi jheli jaati. Main aapke sath kaam kar hi nahi sakta. (I won’t be insulted anymore. I cannot work with you),” he said. Hooda accepted the resignation and called a Congress meeting to discuss the issue.
“My officers were not listening to me. The power secretary transferred a superintending engineer without my notice. When I told him, he was blunt enough to disobey. Kaya karun aisi ministry ka, sub kuch chief minister ke ishare par hota tha. (What do I do with such a ministry. Everything was being done at the behest of the CM),” Yadav said.
“The government is being run arbitrarily and by bureaucrats. The chief minister is on a bureaucrat rehabilitation spree. Can’t he see senior politicians who need to be honoured by these posts? The Congress won one out of ten Lok Sabha seats in the state but even that was not enough for the CM to learn a lesson. If things continue like this, then we are doomed,” he added.
A senior leader, Yadav is the prominent non-Jat face of the Congress. His differences with the chief minister first cropped up after he was unceremoniously removed as the state Finance Minister two years ago. Yadav protested with the state and central leadership but to no avail. “I approached the party high command and met the Congress president’s political adviser Ahmed Patel but there was no action even after Patel’s promise to restore my prestige within two months by getting me back my snatched portfolio of Finance Minister,” he said.
He held back even after his son, Chiranjeev Yadav, was denied the party ticket from the Gurgaon Lok Sabha constituency. Chiranjeev is married to the daughter of RJD leader Lalu Prasad Yadav.
It is also an open secret that he was a namesake Power Minister as none of the files moved through him. The departmental files used to be dealt by the chief minister and were then sent to him for his signature. “I was reduced to being a rubber stamp. But the leaders behind my humiliation should mind that I am no more one. I have resigned to protect my dignity,” Yadav said.
He however added, “I am a Congressman and will continue to be one. My leader is Congress president Sonia Gandhi and I shall abide by her orders even if those meant to withdraw my resignation”.
Captain also attacked Hooda for lopsided development. “For him (Hooda) Haryana means Rohtak, Jhajjar and Sonepat. All development funds, projects and jobs are diverted to these areas. And when I asked money for public health and sewerage, there were no funds. Roads in my area need urgent repair but Hooda has no concern as his entire focus is on Rohtak,” the Rewari MLA said. Sources said that Yadav had been particularly miffed at completely being ignored in the recruitment of patwaris in which Hooda loyalists had a field day.
“If I can’t get jobs for the youth of my area. When I can’t ensure development of my area. Then who will vote for me?” he asked.