With an eye on next year's Lok Sabha and assembly elections, Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda is expected to make some big-ticket announcements at a show-of-strength rally on Sunday.
The rally is being organised at Gohana near Sonepat to mark the completion of the Congress government's ninth consecutive year in office. The rally will be keenly watched by the opposition parties.
In an attempt to woo young voters, Hooda is expected to announce one lakh jobs for the youth. Around 65,000 posts are lying vacant in various government departments, boards and corporations for the past more than two years and as a first step the Congress regime had recently lifted the ban on fresh recruitment.
Hooda is also expected to announce the enhancement of the state government's social security scheme for the aged. Under the old-age pension scheme, an elderly person currently gets a pension of Rs. 750 per month.
Similarly, he is likely to announce a health care plan on the pattern of the ongoing free medicine scheme in Rajasthan. "But ours will be on a larger scale," a state Congress official said.
Hooda's rally comes days after the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) of Om Prakash Chautala held a public meeting at Kurukshetra on November 1 to celebrate the 100th birth anniversary of former deputy prime minister Devi Lal. The presence of its senior leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi indicated the BJP's move to keep open its alliance options in Haryana. It has already firmed up its alliance with the Haryana Janhit Congress of Kuldeep Bishnoi, a staunch rival of Chautalas.
Apart from Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, the Kurukshetra rally was also attended by rebel Congress MP Rao Inderjit Singh.
The state Congress has kept the rally a local affair. Since Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi are busy campaigning in poll-bound states, party general secretary Shakeel Ahmed will represent the central leadership.