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Aurangzeb Naqshbandi , Hindustan Times
New Delhi, November 09, 2013
Congress president Sonia Gandhi is likely to give a miss to a rally organised by Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda on the completion of his government’s nine consecutive years in office. The ‘shakti rally’ at Gohana near Sonepat on November 10 is expected to highlight the achievements of the Hooda government during the past nine years and also apprise the people of the Congress party’s future roadmap for the state.

Sources said Rahul Gandhi is also unlikely to attend the rally and that party general secretary in-charge of Haryana affairs Shakeel Ahmed would represent the central leadership at the public meeting. Sonia’s move is seen as a balancing act on her part as she had earlier stayed away from a rally organised by Hooda’s known detractor in state politics, Choudhary Birender Singh, at Jind on the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi on August 20.

Apart from Ahmed, Birender’s rally was attended by outspoken party general secretary Digvijaya Singh whose remarks had then created ripples in the Hooda camp. In his speech, Digvijaya had told the gathering that Birender would be at the helm of affairs in Haryana provided they defeated the Indian National Lok Dal of Om Prakash Chautala and the BJP.

With Lok Sabha elections a year away, Hooda’s detractors have stepped up attacks on him.