Anticipating multiple rallies by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in poll-bound Haryana after the imposition of model code of conduct, the incumbent Congress government in the state is mulling to rope in Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Rohtak parliamentarian Deepender Singh Hooda as their star campaigners to boost the poll tally.
Ruling out the option of making Gandhi scions — party vice-president Rahul Gandhi and his sister Priyanka Gandhi as the prime attraction in state, a senior Congress MLA told HT on condition of anonymity that their visit (of Rahul and Priyanka) can boomerang for the state party, which has been reeling under severe anti-incumbency.
Pointing to a party meeting held earlier this month, he said owing to the bad reputation earned by the party due to alleged land deals involving DLF and Robert Vadra, son-in-law of Sonia Gandhi, instead of active campaigning by his wife Priyanka Gandhi, the party agreed on the name of party president Sonia Gandhi.
On the name of Rahul Gandhi, another state Congress leader said after humiliating defeat of Lok Sabha polls, he (Rahul) himself was averse to campaign for the party, which has been ruling for last 10 years. He feared that electorate may start a comparison between Rahul and Modi, the way did it in the Lok Sabha polls and it may upset the Congress tally in Haryana.
On the contrary, Deepender Singh Hooda, son of chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, won Rohtak Lok Sabha seat despite being bed-ridden owing to a spinal injury and inactive campaigning, said a party leader, adding that owing to the massive development and his soft approach, people of Rohtak, Sonepat and Jhajjar have a soft corner for Deepender.
Notably, Deepender won from Rohtak by a margin of 1.7 lakh votes by beating BJP candidate Om Prakash Dhankar, for whom Narendra Modi had addressed a rally in Jhajjar under Rohtak parliamentary constituency three days before the state went to polling. The BJP had won seven Lok Sabha seats out of total 10, while Congress remained victorious on Rohtak only. Hisar and Sirsa were won by the Indian National Lok Dal.