Congress leader Virender, booked by the Rohtak police on sedition charges in the audio-clip controversy during the Jat quota agitation, is former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda’s Man Friday.
A close aide of Hooda for nearly 20 years, Virender does not have much of an electoral record. He contested three assembly elections unsuccessfully, but it did not deter his rise and clout in the corridors of power. A former guest lecturer at Jat College in Rohtak, the Hooda loyalist, who likes everyone to address him as “professor saab”, was appointed by Hooda as his political adviser when he came to power in 2005.
While politically-savvy Hooda never needed much of political advice from him, Virender, known for his typical Haryanvi wit and dialect, has always been more of a fawning manch sanchalak (stage coordinator) of political meetings and rallies of the Congress leader.
“At one of the meetings of Congress workers, he even called Hooda today’s Mahatma Gandhi,” recalls a party leader.
In his initial days, Virender was in the Lok Dal founded by Devi Lal, who made his chairman of Sugarfed. He wanted to contest the Lok Sabha election from Rohtak but was not give the party ticket. He then got close to Congress leader Birender Singh and joined the party. Virender did not take long to switch loyalties to Hooda thereafter and has been with him since, becoming a member of Hooda’s core team during his days in power.
Days before the 2014 assembly elections, Hooda appointed Virender’s wife Rekha, a teacher, as information commissioner.