B S Hooda
Term ends this year
Lok Sabha seats: Cong 1/10 (-8)
Assembly segments led: Cong 24/90 (-16)
For a chief minister supposedly in the firing line, Bhupinder Singh Hooda appears confident. This is partly because the Haryana CM has a reputation for survival and largely because the Congress doesn’t seem to have too many choices to replace him either.
Reduced to a minority with 40 of 90 assembly seats five years ago, Hooda had secured the numbers to form the government with the support of 47 MLAs. Over the next five years, he has been targeted from within the party and by the opposition over the Robert Vadra land deals, atrocities on Dalits, honour killings and disproportionate spending with his home district Rohtak getting the bulk of funds.
Through all that, he has enjoyed the confidence of Sonia Gandhi, whom he has met again following talk about his removal, the demands having peaked since the Congress lost in nine of the state’s 10 Lok Sabha seats. But with the debacle having engulfed his detractors too, a confident Hooda has said he is staying as long as he enjoys Sonia’s blessings
Kumari Selja, one of Hooda’s main opponents, did not even contest and is said to be not keen on taking over, having been sent to the Rajya Sabha. Birender Singh’s stock is down after Lok Sabha candidate Sampat Singh, besides losing his deposit, surrendered the lead in Uchana Kalan, the assembly segment that is home to Birender. Savitri Jindal too saw her assembly segment vote against the Congress while her son Naveen lost, as did Ashok Tanwar.
The one contender for Hooda’s chair who did have a performance to show is minister Randeep Singh Surjewala, national Congress spokesman, in whose assembly segment the Congress led by 13,331 votes, but what goes against him is that he does not enjoy the confidence of those who want Hooda replaced. Besides, the only Congress MP, Hooda’s son Deepender, did lead in his father’s assembly segment of Kiloi.