In MP Deepender Singh Hooda, the third generation political figure from the Hooda clan after his father Bhupinder Singh Hooda, who is Haryana chief minister since 2005, and grandfather and ex-minister in undivided Punjab, late Ranbir Singh Hooda, he is being seen a promising leader in Jatland of the state.
After the exodus by political veterans from the state Congress, including chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda’s cousin Birender Singh and prominent Ahir leader Rao Inderjit Singh, the upcoming assembly polls have certainly posed a challenge to the Hooda clan’s future in politics, but the chief minister’s say in Rohtak, Jhajjar and Sonepat assembly segments may turn tables for him for third time in a row.
After its superlative performance in Haryana by winning seven Lok Sabha seats, the BJP who is desperately eyeing to form next government is not the only challenge for Hooda, but repeated allegations of regional bias by prominent leaders from Hooda’s own party and accusation of shady land deals, including the alleged involvement of son-in-law of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Robert Vadra and DLF, and misuse of CLUs (change of land use) licences have dented his projected “pro-farmer” image.
At the same time, Hooda in his nine-year regime has propelled himself to be undisputed Jat leader and a custodian of Rohtak, Sonepat and Jhajjar districts. These districts have 14 assembly segments and Hooda has flooded the area with massive development projects besides providing jobs to youths.
The shrewd leader, who defeated former deputy prime minister from northern Haryana Jat clan (Chautala), Devi Lal from Rohtak Lok Sabha seat thrice, successfully installed his US-educated son Deepender Singh Hooda as a compelling MP from Jatland by circumventing development projects and jobs to Congress supporters through him.
A dream run during Hooda’s tenure in Haryana transformed a shy and reserved ‘Deepu’ into most sought after politician and his proximity with Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi further earned him clout in the grand old party and more sway on supporters.
Buoyed by job recruitment and largesse of the chief minister, the electorate of Rohtak Lok Sabha constituency returned favour to the Hooda dynasty by sending Deepender to Parliament with a margin of 1.6 lakh votes for third consecutive time recently, despite his inactive political campaign and the Modi wave.
However, the elevation of state irrigation minister from Rewari, Ajay Singh Yadav as the Congress campaign chief for the Haryana assembly polls and nose-diving of the overall image of the Congress in the national scenario and ongoing desertion by veterans party insiders have certainly raised a big question mark on “Hoodaji ki Congress”. His hope floats on disintegration of votes in multi-cornered contests.