She is an unusual election candidate a professional nurse and bike freak who rides a 150 cc machine on the campaign. In Haryanas political circles,she is known as the woman who has been rewarded with a ticket for her loyalty to the family of Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda.
Shakuntala Khatak,Congress nominee from Kalanaur (reserved) seat in Rohtak,devotedly looked after the CMs father,Ranbir Singh Hooda,when he was ailing. The senior Hooda,a veteran Congressman,passed away earlier this year.
The 41-year-old Khatak has now left her position at the Post Graduate Institute (PGI),Rohtak. Institute director S S Sangwan confirmed that her resignation has been accepted. The first-time candidate is aiming to win the seat held by former state Health Minister Kartar Devi who died recently. Rallied against her are Naga Ram Valmiki of the INLD and Ram Avtar Valmiki of the BJP.
Khatak told The Indian Express she had been rewarded for her service to the Congress party.
I was a nurse and I used to look after the CMs father whenever he was sick. But thats not what has got me the ticket. I have worked for the Congress for 20 years. I have been rewarded for my service and loyalty to the party.
The BJP does not agree. Everyone knows that she served the Hooda family as a nurse. She has no experience. Its a reward ticket, said BJP leader Ashok Khurana.
But Khatak is undeterred. A Congress flag knotted to the handlebar,she has been riding her bike across the length and breadth of the constituency. Sometime back,I rode my bike for Soniajis rally from Rohtak to Hissar, says Khatak. She hopes her ride will take her straight into the Assembly.