While chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda is claiming to form the government for the third time, the mood at his hometown, which has been a political hotbed for the past ten years, seems to be defying it.
At his native village Sanghi, Hooda had claimed that a strong “development breeze” was blowing and that the Congress will be voted to power again, on polling day.
Brijesh Dhankar, a native of a nearby village and a booth agent on polling day at Karontha village, said large numbers of people turned wearing Modi caps and bands to the booths.
“Many of them who were swearing by the Prime Minister’s name used to be Congress loyalists,” said Dhankar. The BJP, which was nowhere in the picture in 2009, played a formidable role in all segments of the Jatland, he claimed.
Dr Naresh Jangra, a Rohtak-based physiotherapist, who was in Sonepat at the time of polling, said Congress candidate and incumbent MLA Jagbir Singh Malik left the booth in the afternoon because of strong sentiments against him.
A close aide of the chief minister's family confided that though they were hopeful that Congress would win maximum seats in Rohtak and Jhajjar assembly segments, it seemed the party will not manage an encore this time given the feedback from different quarters.
In an appeal on social networking site Facebook, Rohtak MP Deepender Singh Hooda too seemed defensive when after he asked the people to not vote for Congress if they felt the party had improved their welfare in the last ten years.
Alleging nepotism in government-aided institutes, an educationist from a prestigious institute here said that those who enjoyed the CM’s support had been given a freehand in hiring and firing employees, at the cost of deserving candidates. Giving out of turn promotions to a chosen few faculty members irked majority of the staff members, he said.
DR Chaudhary, a retired Delhi University professor, is a native of Sirsa district living in Rohtak. He said that strong anti-incumbency sentiments were evident this assembly polls neglect in terms of development felt outside of old Rohtak district damaged the Congress’ prospects.
He said, “Lack of effective control over the administration and unending corruption further alienated the ruling party from people," he added.
Hooda's margin to go down
Political experts said chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda’s margin is expected to witness a sharp decline this time because of division of Jat votes.
Justifying the stand, experts said that BJP fielded Dharambir Hooda, ex-president of Jat Education Society, this time making the contest triangular. In 2009 assembly elections, BJP was a fringe player and the contest was essentially between Hooda and INLD candidate Satish Nandal. The chief minister had won the 2009 election from Garhi-Sampla Kiloi by a margin of 72,100 votes.