Somber mood prevailed at the house of Congress candidate Raj Kumar Valmiki at Sector 12, Panchkula. His entire family was by his side on counting day. Sitting in a room adorned with his pictures taken with Haryana CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and film star Rajesh Khanna, Valmiki looked quite composed.
Talking to HT, the leader, who lost the Ambala seat to BJP’s Rattan Lal Kataria, who secured 3.47 lakh votes, elaborated on the reasons for his defeat, for which he blamed former union minister Kumari Selja.
You have lost by a huge margin. What reasons do you see behind defeat?
First of all, Selja left the battle ground just before the elections, after which the public thought Congress was going to lose. I was given the ticket later. Earlier, Ashok Tanwar wanted to contest from here. He even got a survey done, but he also left after that. During campaigning, I found that all office bearers had been Selja’s loyalists and did not extend any help.
On the last day of campaigning, district president of Yamunanagar Anil Goyal, while addressing a crowd in the presence of Haryana party affairs in-charge Shakeel Ahmed, told them to vote for BJP. He then said he had uttered the party’s name by mistake. After polling was completed here, I took the matter up with senior Congress leaders.
Did belonging to the Valmiki caste in a constituency which has a higher number of Chamar votes help?
While the Valmiki caste and Muslims stood by me, the Chamar caste voted overwhelmingly for the BJP.
How do you see your future in view of the upcoming assembly elections?
I will fight the assembly elections. I have got close to 3 lakh votes. I thank people for that.