With the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) taking lead in announcing its candidate, Satish Nandal, from Garhi-Sampla-Kiloi, the constituency being represented by chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda since 2005, political greenhorns Dharambir Hooda and Ram Karan Hooda are eyeing the Bharatiya Janata Party ticket for the assembly elections.
Considered to be the safest seat for the Congress at a time when anti-incumbency factor against the ruling regime is at its peak, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, who won the 2009 assembly poll by a margin of 72,100 votes against Satish Nandal of the INLD, who remained runners-up, seems to be assured of his win and has also been mulling to contest from Gohana besides Garhi-Sampla-Kiloi.
The chief minister’s son, Deepender Singh Hooda, who was elected to Parliament from Rohtak for third consecutive time in the recent Lok Sabha poll, got 82,564 votes from his father’s constituency, which accounted more than the total number of votes polled in favour of BJP’s Om Prakash Dhankar, Shamsher Kharkhara (INLD) and Aam Aadmi Party’s Naveen Jaihind.
For the assembly polls, 16 candidates are in race for the saffron party ticket from here. However, among serious aspirants are Raj Singh Hooda, a native of Sanghi village and former member of the state BJP working committee who also contested against chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda in 2005, former president of Jat Education Society Dharambir Hooda and self-styled pradhan of Hooda khap and super-rich Ram Karan Hooda.
However, owing to the meteoric increase in the financial status of Dharambir Hooda, a former government employee in the excise department, and Ram Karan Hooda in the last 10 years of the Congress rule, has put in doubt their seriousness of contesting the election against the chief minister.
In the 2005 assembly bypoll, Ram Bhaj Hooda, the BJP candidate from Garhi-Sampla-Kiloi, had ditched the party at the eleventh hour after he withdrew his nomination in favour of chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and joined the Congress.
Raj Singh Hooda, the BJP leader and a ticket aspirant this time, admitted that fighting election against Bhupinder Singh Hooda, who has remained chief minister for two consecutive terms, will be a tough task.
However, he claimed that resentment is prevailing among people in this constituency as the chief minister’s family did provide them with jobs but only after harassing and humiliating youths.
He said the BJP would go to people to seek votes for strengthening the hands of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in carrying out real development against “hollow development” done by the Congress regime led by chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda.
INLD’s youth leader Jitender Balhara said at a time when Rohtak district, especially Garhi-Sampla-Kiloi, witnessed so-called “historic” development, a reality check at Sanghi, the native village of the chief minister, reveals a different tale as streets are filled with muck. “Owing to lack of drainage system, entire Sampla town is in a shambles and women are forced to bring water from wells due to lack of potable water for people of this region,” he added.
A Congress leader said they were banking on the trust chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda has reposed on electorate of the constituency by honouring them with the development projects in the last 10 years. He said voters of the constituency know very well that they are not casting their ballot for an MLA, but voting for a chief minister candidate.