Bringing out the Congress' infighting yet again, this time embarrassing chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda sitting on the same stage, union social justice and empowerment minister Kumari Selja on Wednesday leveled several allegations against Hooda and his regime in Haryana.
Besides accusing the state government of ignoring her constituency Ambala, the Lok Sabha MP also brought up the issue of the death of a Dalit youth in Ambala recently after alleged police torture.
Hooda, who spoke after Selja at the function held to mark the stone-laying for a technology centre at Saha near here, tried to placate her by making claims. Incidentally, this was the first such occasion in the past five years when the two leaders shared the stage.
Called to speak for a gathering of over 3,000, after the pleasantries Selja turned towards the CM and said she would like to speak on the projects of her constituency "which have been stalled by your government". She said she had been taking up issues privately, "and now raising them publicly".
She listed the `18-crore solid waste management plant in Ambala, lying unused since completion in 2008: "The costly machinery has rusted. It's a colossal waste of public money." She asserted that she had taken up the matter with officers, "but they simply do not work". She said the trauma centre at Ambala was also "defunct", as "the state government has not taken the `4.5 crore that the Centre is willing to give".
Hinting towards alleged favours to CM's area Rohtak, she noted that while the state government was not giving land for the Yamunanagar- Naraingarh-Chandigarh rail line, the Rohtak-Meham, which was sanctioned later, had been given free land. She listed a war memorial, a science centre and the Naraingarh irrigation scheme as other projects being ignored. Further, she demanded a university in the three districts of Ambala, Panchkula and Yamunanagar that form her constituency, and sought a medical college at Panchkula.
Mentioning that she was also a Dalit and the minister for social justice, she said the state police had brutally assaulted two Dalit youths by chaining them, leading to the death of one: "These atrocities are not due to any social divide, but are done by the police personnel."
Then she mocked the state government's key slogan, "You may claim that Haryana is number one in the country; but where does Ambala figure?"
The CM, in his speech, claimed there was all-round development in the state, "including Ambala". He said efforts were on to start the waste management plan as clearance from the union environment ministry was awaited. Regarding the Naraingarh rail project, he said the state would bear 50% land cost "provided the railway ministry bears the rest".
On Selja's allegations of atrocities on Dalits, Hooda asserted that the government had been stern and the erring cops in the Ambala case had been booked on murder charges.