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We are waiting for Rahul’s decision to appoint new prez of Haryana Cong: Bhupinder Singh Hooda

Hooda expressed optimism over Rahul Gandhi settling leadership issue of Haryana Congress

india Updated: Jun 14, 2018 17:44 IST
Pawan Sharma
Pawan Sharma
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Rahul Gandhi,Bhupinder Singh Hooda,Haryana Congress
Former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda(HT Photo)

Former two-time chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, the Congress strongman from Rohtak’s Jat bastion, has been facing what arguably are his toughest political and legal battles. And to outfox his adversaries, the veteran leader has been causing ripples in Haryana through his political offensive christened as ‘Jan Kranti Yatra’. As every venue of the yatra is dotted with a telling catchphrase ‘Na rath rukega, na Hooda jhukega,’ at the core of Hooda’s offensive is to showcase the high command his mass base to dislodge Ashok Tanwar as Haryana Congress chief. During a freewheeling interview on Wednesday, Hooda expressed optimism over Rahul Gandhi settling leadership issue of Haryana Congress. Here are the edited excerpts:

What nudged you to launch Jan Kranti Yatra?

It’s a fight for the people of my state. After the BJP came to power in October 2014, I gave them one year to start delivering. They made a plethora of promises and fulfilled none. That’s why I first started ‘Kisan and Dalit Panchayats’ across the state to highlight failures of this government and achievements of my government over a span of 10 years. Now, this yatra is receiving huge response. From June 30 for three days I will be in Mewat. One day in one constituency is my target.

There must be one good work that this government has done.

I wish there was at least one good thing that can be applauded. I am sorry to say there is not one decision that can be appreciated. They are running this non-performing government like an event management company.

Your critics say the key agenda of yatra is to persuade the high command to make you state party chief. Is this the message you are trying to send?

I don’t have to send any message to the high command. Through this yatra, I want to create a mass movement against this non-performing government. Everybody in the party knows me and is aware of my strengths. When the last AICC session was held I was the chairman of the committees that drafted resolutions on agriculture, poverty alleviation and employment. I had drafted all three of them. The party high command is aware of my political acumen.

What is your assessment of state Congress chief Ashok Tanwar?

I don’t like passing remarks about individuals. Let me inform you, Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee in the presence of Kamal Nath (then in-charge of Haryana Congress) had passed a resolution authorising Rahul Gandhi to appoint a new president (replacing Tanwar). We are waiting for the decision on that resolution.

How strong is the case of leadership change in Haryana Congress?

As I said, the resolution has already been passed (demanding new president). Now, it depends upon Rahul Gandhi...He has been taking decisions about leadership change in different states. In Haryana also, he will take the decision.

So in your opinion, the Congress in Haryana needs a new chief?

That is for him (Rahul) to decide. I am a man of organisation. The state of affairs is such that for the past over three years (under Tanwar’s leadership) the Congress has been without Block and District Congress Committees. That is not good for the organisation. There is no organisational structure that exists on the ground as of now. That’s the problem and that is why I am crisscrossing the state to reach out to the public and give voice to their problems.

Why don’t Haryana Congress’ frontline leaders hold yatras, dharna jointly, instead of going solo?

I started my mass contact activities just after the BJP government completed one year in office. I don’t know about others. Everybody has got a different style. They are doing in their own style. I am connecting with people in my own style and the ultimate purpose is to strengthen the party.

Your supporters claim only you can turn the tide in favour of the Congress. How optimistic are you about becoming party chief?

Everybody has own views...As far as I know, as I have told you, we have already passed a resolution authorising Rahul Gandhi to appoint a new president.

The corruption cases against you may weaken your case to become party president.

No, no...I have not been convicted and these are false cases. I have full faith in the judiciary and the truth will come out. Those cases were registered due to political vendetta.

First Published: Jun 14, 2018 17:43 IST