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Monday, Nov 18, 2019

Sure of retaining citadels, Manohar Lal Khattar, Bhupinder Singh Hooda cover state

The paucity of time and need to cover a lot of ground made the two star campaigners remain airborne on most of the days, covering 6-8 seats every day.

assembly-elections Updated: Oct 19, 2019 02:39 IST
HT Correspondents
HT Correspondents
Hindustan Times, Karnal/ Rohtak
Former CM of Haryana Bhupinder Singh Hooda during an election campaign in Rohtak on October 16, 2019.
Former CM of Haryana Bhupinder Singh Hooda during an election campaign in Rohtak on October 16, 2019. (PTI Photo)
         

The big two of the ruling BJP and the Congress have left it to their supporters to run the show in the constituencies from where they are contesting. Seemingly quite assured of retaining Karnal and Garhi-Sampla Kiloi, the assembly seats from where they are contesting respectively, chief minister, Manohar Lal Khattar and his predecessor, Bhupinder Singh Hooda are trying to live up to their reputation of the prime poll campaigners of their parties. The two have been busy mapping the length and breadth of Haryana, canvassing for party nominees as star campaigners.

The paucity of time and need to cover a lot of ground made the two star campaigners remain airborne on most of the days, covering 6-8 seats every day.

Khattar pushes poll rhetoric

“I travel by road when it gets dark and keep my evening poll meetings close-by,’’ says Khattar. The chief minister gets to the business quickly after alighting from his flying machine. He avoids rituals like garlanding by party worker or being honored with artifacts during poll meetings to save time. Khattar tries to connect with the people by talking about the bachelor status of his party colleagues and himself. “There was a time when elected representatives minted money for themselves and their relatives. We have nothing to do with this. Modiji ne kiska ghar bharna hai. Yogi Adityanath ne kiska ghar bharna hai. Yehi haal Manohar Lal ka hai. Mujhe to agar kisi ka ghar bharna hai to mere in 2.5 crore ke pariwar ka,’’ he says to a thunderous applause at Gohana’s Titu dharamshala. Khattar ensures the crowd remains interested by asking questions in between. He profusely talks about the nationalism narrative of the BJP.“Rekindling the spirit of nationalism, abrogating Article 370, teaching Pakistan a lesson, eradication of militancy in Kashmir, strong ties with the United States. So who did all this?,’’ Khattar asks the crowd. The crowd at Baroda village responds with shouts of Modi-Modi.

He attacks the opposition parties for promising freebies to lure the voters and making them dependent. “We would make people skilled and self reliant,’’ he says. About his own constituency, Karnal Khattar says “People of Karnal have a chance to elect a chief minister. Why will they vote for anyone else.” Karnal’s Mayor Renu Bala Gupta disapproves these allegations saying, “Unlike, previous chief ministers, Manohar ji has worked for inclusive development of entire state and lots of work has been done here and smart city project will bring a big change in life of people of Karnal”,

Hooda, a man of few words

Not as eloquent as his successor, former chief minister, BS Hooda’s poll speeches are rather quick. He relies more on his appeal.

But he does not forget to express gratitude to the gatherings for coming out in “big numbers”. “I was very happy at the number of people who gathered at Narnaund earlier today. But this crowd is much big,’’ he tells a gathering at Tohana. Then he tries to bring in some emotion. “All of you are sweating in this heat. Your sweat is like sacred Ganges water for me. It will not go waste,” he says

The former chief minister who is trying to lift the Congress campaign keeps an eye on the developments across the seats. “My sense is that we are gaining along the GT road (northern Haryana) where BJP won maximum seats in 2014 polls. People’s response has been beyond our expectations,” he claims.

“The BJP provided a non-performing government. They just did event management. Every section of the society is unhappy with them. Ask them whether they fulfilled even a single promise they made in their 2014 party manifesto,” he says.

Back home in Garhi Sampla Kiloi, Hooda’s own seat, Chakravarti Sharma, a close Hooda aide is taking care of former CMs campaign. “Hooda brought Chaudhar (power) to Rohtak from Teja Khera farm house in Chautala village (referring to OP Chautala’s ) in 2005. Lets get united to bring power back to Rohtak,’’ he announces. Hooda says people of his constituency were filling in for him since he is busy in canvassing for other party candidates. “Not only people of my constituency but of entire state are looking towards Congress for an alternative”, he said.