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Rajesh Moudgil, Hindustan Times
Chandigarh, October 16, 2013
Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda hosted a lunch for all Congress legislators and ministers here on Tuesday, rolling out the party’s roadmap for the general elections.
In the post-lunch meeting, Hooda exhorted the MLAs to make the November 10 rally in Gohana (Sonepat district), likely to be addressed by Congress top leaders, including UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, a success. The rally has been named Haryana Shakti Rally.

“I cannot say how many lakhs of Congress workers will participate in the rally but I can definitely say that it will be a historic and an unprecedented rally,” the chief minister said. On being asked if major announcements would be made during the rally, he said: “Badi rally hogi to kuch to hoga hi
(Some important announcement is obvious at a big rally).”

To another query, he said there was no bickering in the state Congress. He avoided comment on the alliance among Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), Bharatiya Janata Party and Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC).

Hooda will host lunch for party leaders from Panchkula, Ambala, Yamunanagar, Kurukshetra, Karnal, Panipat, Bhiwani, Fatehabad, Hisar, Jind, Kaithal and Sirsa here on October 16, while leaders of the National Capital Region (NCR) and other districts of south Haryana lunch will be invited for lunch at his house in Delhi on October 25.

A series of meetings over lunch and the Gohana rally are being seen as Hooda’s reply to rallies held by the three opposition parties.

On his agenda is to placate party workers who could side with Congress’ Gurgaon MP Rao Inderjit Singh, who had recently announced to snap ties with the Congress.

A few MLAs stay away
A few legislators and ministers, including finance minister HS Chattha and public health engineering minister Kiran Chaudhry, could not make it to Tuesday’s lunch and had intimated chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda about it. Uklana MLA Naresh Selwal and Sadhaura MLA Rajpal Bhukhri of the anti-Hooda camp did not turn up.

Rallies on the way
National leaders of BJP to address a rally in Sonepat on October 20

INLD holds Sankalp rally in Kurukshetra on November 1 on Chaudhary Devi Lal's birth anniversary

Congress' Haryana Shakti rally in Gohana on November 10