Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar Thursday chose Bhupinder Singh Hooda’s Assembly constituency to attack the senior Congress leader whose name he said “is a synonym of corruption” and who, he claimed, would soon land in jail.
“If anybody votes for Hooda, it means that they are not voting for one individual or for increasing the seat count of the Congress. It will mean that they are voting for increasing corruption,” Khattar said addressing a rally in Garhi Sampla-Kiloi.
“Jab yeh satta mein the na, toh us time kaha karte the ke khoob khelunga rajneeti ka khel kyuki meri jeb mein hai Ahmed Patel. Yeh Ahmed Patel ko apni jeb mein daal ke rakhta tha. Lekin, bhaiyo ab samay badal gaya hai. Aaj hum kehte hain – nahi chalega ab koi khel, tumhara intejaar kar rahi hai jail (When Congress was in power, he (Hooda) did whatever he wished to as he had Ahmed Patel by his side. Times have changed. Now, I say – you can’t play politics as the jail is waiting for you),” Khattar said.
Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel is considered close to Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
Hooda is facing six criminal cases on charges of corruption and money laundering in various CBI courts and in the court of Enforcement Directorate. All these cases were registered after BJP formed government in Haryana in October 2014. Hooda had been calling all these cases as an outcome of political vendetta against him.
To take on Hooda, BJP has fielded Satish Nandal, a former Rohtak district unit president of the Indian National Lok Dal who switched sides earlier this year.
Hooda twice defeated Nandal – in 2009 and 2014 – for the constituency, which came into being 10 years ago after a delimitation exercise. Before that the constituency was known as Kiloi.
Terming Garhi Sampla-Kiloi, a “hot seat”, Khattar hinted that Hooda was now afraid of losing from the constituency. “A person who used to say that he does not require to visit Garhi Sampla-Kiloi and was confident of victory is visiting villages of the constituency every other day. His son, Deepu (former MP Deepender Singh Hooda), is also visiting several villages. For the first time, he is realising that there is somebody called Satish Nandal. This time, assure that Bhupinder Hooda loses. Bhupinder Hooda must not win”, Khattar said, asking voters not to “waste the vote” by voting “for the sinking ship”.
Citing former Union Minister of Finance P Chidambaram’s arrest, Khattar and said, “Chidambaram ki jail, aur bhai Sonia ki bail; Rahul tera khel, Congress ho gayi fail”.
Referring to alleged land scams in Gurgaon during Congress’ tenure, Khattar said Hooda was so afraid of the Dhingra Commission report that he approached Punjab and Haryana High Court seeking a stay on making the report’s findings public. “The issue was not whether the constitution of commission was right or wrong, the issue was whether you did corruption or not. If there was no wrongdoing, then why did he move to stop the report [from getting published]. Yet, what happened. The issue, which was before Dhingra Commission, went to the Supreme Court, which sent it to the CBI. Now he is facing CBI court hearings every other day, be it in AJL plot allotment, industrial plots scam, or Manesar land scam,” Khattar said.
On the accusation that he is outsider in Haryana, Khattar said, “I was born in Meham Chaubisi. I went to college in Rohtak…We do not rule, we serve the people”.
Earlier, former Union minister Birender Singh, who is also Hooda’s cousin, targeted Jannayak Janata Party’s Dushyant Chautala. “He [Dushyant] is roaming around with a team of 500-600 youngsters who keep raising slogans projecting him as next chief minister. Bhai 22 saal mein toh mhara dao na lagya, tanne cheh mahine mein hi mukhya mantri bana dein (I couldn’t get the chance to be the CM in 22 years, and you expect to be one in barely six months)”.