Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda admitted defeat and resigned from his office on Sunday as the BJP trounced the Congress by a huge margin in the assembly polls, but his challenges may have just begun.
Daggers are out in the state unit, with many Congress leaders blaming the two-time chief minister for the washout. The party won only 15 seats and was reduced to the third position after the BJP and the Indian National Lok Dal.
Hooda may have to field many uncomfortable questions, starting with controversial land deals in the state, including the one between Robert Vadra and real estate major DLF during his nine-and-a-half-year rule. The BJP had raised the issue during the poll campaign, promising to look into it if it was voted to power.
Hooda’s colleagues also want him to take responsibility for the debacle. Power minister Capt Ajay Singh Yadav, who lost from Rewari after six straight wins, openly blamed the chief minister and his “discriminatory policies” for the Congress collapse.
“Hooda ran a one-man cabinet. There was discrimination in recruitment for government jobs and fund allocation, which went to only two-three districts. Who has paid for his wrong policies? The answer is, the Congress,” he told HT.
Another party leader accused Hooda of reducing the Congress to a baap-beta (father-son) party. “The people had started calling the party Congress (Hooda),” he said.
Many senior leaders such as former Union minister Kumari Selja, Rao Inderjit Singh, Birender Singh, Yadav and others took on Hooda on the same issue. A few old-timers even left the party.
Hooda seemed to enjoy the confidence of the Central leadership and ran the state unit as he wanted. During the selection of candidates for the assembly polls, he had serious differences with Haryana Congress chief Ashok Tanwar, who threatened to quit his post. Hooda had his way then.
However, with Sunday’s dismal show, the party high command may not be able to ignore his detractors any longer.
Tanwar said the party would assess where things went wrong and would discuss at an appropriate forum the charges brought against Hooda by Capt Yadav and other detractors. ?