BJP leaders in Haryana, too, have had enough with the Centre: Bhoopindra Hooda

The Congress is united in fighting the elections: Former Haryana CM

70-Bhupinder-Singh-Hooda Bhupinder Singh Hooda | Sanjay Ahlawat

Interview/ Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Congress leader and former chief minister

Farmers’ protest has taken the centre stage in Haryana, which goes to the polls on May 25. Former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda is confident that the Congress, which has been out of power for 10 years, will regain its hold on the state. “People who voted for the BJP are disappointed today. It is clear that they want change,” he told THE WEEK.


Q/ How are poll preparations going?

A/ The clear undercurrent in Haryana is that the Congress is coming and the BJP is going. Leaders and workers are leaving the BJP and the Congress family is growing by the day. In the past one and a half years, more than 100 leaders, including incumbent and former MPs and state legislators, have joined the Congress. Three independent MLAs recently left the government and joined our party…. It is clear that people who voted for the BJP are disappointed today. Not just the people, but BJP leaders and workers, too, have had enough.

Q/ There seems to be a strong anti-BJP sentiment among farmers. Will it benefit the Congress?

A/ Not just farmers, but every section of society is disappointed with this government. The BJP has failed to provide minimum support price to farmers, pension to workers, ration to the poor, reservation to the backward classes, and protection to citizens. Before 2014, Haryana was leading in terms of per capita income, per capita investment, employment generation, rewards to sportspersons, respect to elders, and income to farmers. Under the BJP today, Haryana leads in unemployment, crime, inflation, drugs and corruption.

Q/ There is a lot of talk about infighting in the Congress.

A/ The Congress is united in fighting the elections. It is unfortunate that the process of demanding tickets is being shown as infighting. Such practices are healthy in a democracy. The Congress had a long list of strong candidates. After discussions, the high command took decisions. All leaders are now campaigning for candidates in their constituencies.

On the other hand, there are multiple blocs in the BJP, including the M.L. Khattar camp, the Anil Vij camp, the Rao Inderjit [Singh] camp, and the Kuldeep Bishnoi camp. The BJP has done injustice to senior leaders like Ram Bilas Sharma.

Q/ Can the ongoing tussle in the assembly affect the outcome of the Lok Sabha polls?

A/ Certainly. The three independent candidates [who withdrew support to the BJP] took the decision based on their assessment of the sentiment of the people. It is clear that voters are against the BJP. More and more leaders and workers are joining the Congress every day.

Q/ The Congress seems to be trying to consolidate Jat votes. Is that so?

A/ It is a wrong question to ask. In five of the nine seats that the Congress is contesting, the party has fielded candidates belonging to the scheduled castes and Other Backward Classes. One Brahmin, one Punjabi (Khatri) and two Jats have also been given tickets. In Kurukshetra, the Aam Aadmi Party candidate as part of the INDIA bloc, Sushil Gupta, is from the Bania community. The ticket distribution and the Congress’s history show that the party takes everyone together.

Q/ How many seats are you confident of winning?

A/ Political commentators who had given one to two seats to the Congress have changed their assessment to eight to 10 seats. I cannot give you an exact number, but the Congress’s chances are looking bright, and everyone knows it.