If numbers in a rally are an indicator of a leaders popularity,the Congresss Shakti rally in Gohana in Sonepat district of Haryana on Sunday proved that criticism and anti-government campaigns by opposition parties have failed to dent Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hoodas popularity. The rally broke all records in crowd participation in the state,the party claimed after the rally.
The Congress leadership in the state except for two detractors of Hooda Kumari Selja and Rao Inderjit Singh also showed a united face at the massive rally in projecting Hooda as leader of the party and people of Haryana.
The venue started getting packed by noon. Before Hooda landed in a chopper,the number of people,according to claims by the party,crossed 14 lakh. The Congress had been building momentum for the rally for the past few weeks. Hooda,displaying wit and humour,struck an instant chord with people.
The only alliance possible in Haryana to form government is between me and people of Haryana, he said,launching an attack on opposition parties making a bid to join hands against the Congress in next years elections.
The INLD,in its Kurukshetra rally,claimed to have pitched the biggest ever tent.
Prof Virender Singh,political adviser to the chief minister,said they could not pitch a tent large enough to fit the crowd. We did not place any chairs… nor (found) a tent this big in the entire country… This shows the strength and support Congress has in Haryana, Singh said.
In his address,Hooda cautioned the people against the alliance move of the opposition in the state. It is not for benefit of people,but for these political parties vested interests…, he said.
Taking a dig at Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal,Hooda said,Now Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had spoken in Kurukshetra recently about politics of alliance against the Congress. Is it that Badal will now decide who would be the Chief Minister of Haryana. It was Badal who had denied Haryana of its due share of water.
Hooda announced various sops for a cross section of people,especially for senior citizens and ex-servicemen. He announced benefits for farmers,labourers,shopkeepers,entrepreneurs,persons with disabilities,employees,police,and the youth. He also announced free bus travel for girl students until graduation,and other sops lIke employment to woo the youth.