In yet another blow to Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, power minister Capt Ajay Yadav resigned from the council of ministers on Tuesday, alleging lopsided development, bias in recruitment for government jobs and total neglect of his constituency Rewari.
Capt Yadav, who submitted his resignation to Hooda at his residence here, squarely blamed the latter for the step. The move, which comes at a time when the beleaguered party is preparing for the assembly polls after suffering a debacle in the Lok Sabha elections around three months ago, is being widely seen as the six-time MLA’s revolt against the chief minister, like several other seniors party leaders from the state.
Yadav has also accused Hooda of pampering Rohtak, Sonepat and Jhajjar districts falling in the parliamentary constituency of his son Deepender Hooda at the cost of other areas.
Earlier, former union ministers Kumari Selja, Rao Inderjit and Venod Sharma as well as Rajya Sabha member Birender Singh and former RS member Ishwar Singh have publicly slammed Hooda for the “discrimination” in jobs and development works.
With the assembly elections barely two months away, the timing of Capt Yadav's move is being debated and questioned by his own party colleagues. The Ahir leader who is known for blowing hot and cold had earlier too shown a defiant streak. In 2011 he had questioned the land acquisition policy of the state government and was subsequently stripped of Finance, Irrigation and Environment portfolios and instead given the power portfolio. However, he later patched up with the chief minister. In 2012, he was again at loggerheads with the chief minister demanding up-gradation of post graduate centre at Mirpur in his constituency, Rewari to a full-fledged university. Only a few days back in a post cabinet press conference, Capt Yadav took great pains explaining his commitment and loyalty to the chief minister. His sudden move to quit the Cabinet on Tuesday took some by surprise while many termed it rather predictable.
While Venod and Inderjit have already quit the Congress, there is also talk of Birender joining the BJP.
However, Capt Yadav ruled out quitting the Congress. “I am not running away from the party and would remain a staunch Congress soldier till my last breath,” he told reporters in an interaction after submitting his resignation.
Asked about his grouse, Capt Yadav said he did not seek anything but “swabhimaan” (self-respect). “I have been asking for a medical college for years; it has not seen the light of day,” he said, adding that even in the jobs, people of the said areas were considered. “Only recently, of 68 jobs for patwaris, only one was given to a Rewari resident,” he said, adding that he felt “suffocated”.
Asked if the move did not come too late or was it aimed at making his presence felt to his vote bank, Capt Yadav said though the elections were three months away, he had been raising his voice in the past too. “I had expressed my view before the Antony panel, formed after the Congress debacle in the recent Lok Sabha election,” he said.
Yadav is not the first to break away from Hooda. Birender Singh had recently said at a workers’ meeting that he would not contest the ensuing assembly poll under Hooda’s leadership. However, the Congress has been strongly backing Hooda saying it would not make any change in the state leadership.
Slams info panel appointments
Capt Yadav minced no words in slamming the recent appointments of the information commissioners which, he held, were filled with bureaucrats. “This is also not right to make such appointments with bureaucrats, ignoring party leaders and workers,” he said.
Saying that he was hurt to see how the bureaucrats were having an upper hand in the government, Capt Yadav said the power department officers were being transferred by their seniors without informing or consulting him. “Yeh afsar to mauke ke hain; aye, aur chale gaye,” he said, meaning that the officials stay only for the time being; they come and go.
Trying to resolve issues: HPCC president
Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee president Ashok Tanwar, when contacted, said he and AICC general secretary and Haryana in-charge Shakeel Ahmed were having a dialogue with Capt Yadav as well as Hooda and were hopeful of resolving the matter. “I think the Hooda government has done its best for the entire state and Capt Yadav has been part of it,” he said. “However, even then if there are some issues, we would resolve them through dialogue,” he said, adding that Capt Yadav was still with the party and was its strength.