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Third generation Hooda clan aims Congress revival in Haryana

21 May, 2024 12:40 IST|Sakshi Post

Rohtak, May 21 (IANS) The third generation of the Hooda clan in politics, Deepender Hooda, who is in the fray from the Jat-dominated Congress bastion Rohtak, which was won by his family nine times and three consecutive terms by him, is aiming the revival of the Congress with the parliamentary polls.

He’s extensively campaigning in a blistering heatwave in this parliamentary constituency that spreads over nine assembly segments to ensure his return to the lower house of Parliament. He is currently a member of the upper house.

Deepender’s father Bhupinder Hooda, who is campaigning aggressively across all 10 parliamentary constituencies, has represented the Rohtak seat, the state’s political capital, four times, while his grandfather Ranbir Singh Hooda twice.

Predicting that people now want to change the government in the state too, Deepender, who on average covers 25-30 villages in a day by holding public meetings and face-to-face interactions, told IANS the Lok Sabha election has set the ball rolling for the assembly elections in Haryana too that are less than five months away now.

“People want change in the state government too. First, the Congress-AAP alliance will root out the BJP from the state in the Lok Sabha polls by ensuring a win on all 10 seats. Later, we will show the exit door to the BJP from the state’s helm,” said a confidant Deepender, who believes anti-incumbency is banking high on the 10-year helm of the saffron party in the state.

Out of the 18 parliamentary polls in Rohtak, the Congress has won 11 times.

In the 2019 general elections BJP’s Arvind Sharma, a surgeon by profession, defeated Deepender by a slender margin of 7,503 votes.

Deepender’s major loss was in the Ahir-dominated Kosli constituency, despite major gains from his family’s pocket borough, Garhi Sampla Kiloi.

Deepender and Sharma are in a straight contest again.

In his campaign to reach Parliament for the fourth time, the 46-year-old Deepender speaks of the development done during his three stints. Also in his speeches, he tries to drive home the point that winning from the Rohtak Lok Sabha not only ensures a ticket to the Parliament but also to Chandigarh, the state’s capital.

“I am focusing on the development works done by me and the previous Congress governments in the state. I am telling the people that only the Congress can bring them back on the path of overall growth,” said a soft-spoken Deepender, who completed an MBA from the US, known to be an easy access to the public.

During his campaign, the junior Hooda was seen making crispy and crunchy “jalebi” at a roadside stall. In his public meetings, women with their faces covered in a ghunghat (veil) are coming in strength to raise issues concerning them and the treatment meted out to wrestlers.

His rival Arvind Sharma, 62, a dental surgeon by profession, has been promising to bring the Metro to Sampla in Rohtak district and announced to quit politics, if he failed to do so. His vote percentage was 47 per cent in 2019, just .6 per cent higher than his nearest rival Deepender.

Four-time MP Sharma, who largely banks on PM Modi's wave, previously represented the Sonipat and Karnal Lok Sabha seats.

Two-time chief minister Bhupinder Hooda, the father of Deepender, rose to fame by defeating former deputy prime minister Devi Lal thrice.

“It is only the Hoodas who are emotionally attached to grassroots. Deepender Hooda, as an MP of the Rajya Sabha, provided funds from his discretionary funds for constructing toilets in our village school. Our MP (Arvind Sharma) was not visible in the past five years, even amidst tough times of Covid-19,” octogenarian farmer Naib Rathi in the Badli assembly constituency in Jhajjar district told IANS.

“If Rohtak has been developed so far, it is because of Bhupinder and Deepender,” he said while admitting the farmer protests weigh heavily on the minds of the electorates in rural areas.

Echoing similar sentiments, another villager Ram Yadav, while pointing towards bad roads, said, “Yeh chhora hamara hai, hum isko vote karenge, aur yeh kaam bhi karega (He is our son, we will vote for him and he will work for us.”

The Hooda junior was the only Congress candidate among 10 in the state to make it to the 2014 Lok Sabha despite being bedridden then.

“The victory of Deepender Hooda will mean the revival of the Congress just ahead of the assembly elections,” a political analyst who wished to remain anonymous told IANS.

The stakes are high for Hooda senior in these elections as he is trying to prove that he is still a mass leader and could lead the party in the forthcoming assembly polls also, a senior party leader said.

Hooda was marginalised after the party’s two consecutive defeats in the assembly polls. Still, he remains the Congress’ top leader, despite an ongoing struggle with a rival camp comprising former Union minister Kumari Selja and Randeep Surjewala, who owes proximity to the Gandhis.

The Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) has not fielded a candidate for Rohtak, while its offshoot Jannayak Janta Party (JJP) has given a ticket to its youth wing state chief Ravinder Sangwan.

As per the INDIA bloc’s seat-sharing pact, the Congress is contesting nine seats in the state, while the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is in the fray from Kurukshetra.

The BJP and its former coalition partner JJP are contesting on 10 seats each and the INLD on seven seats.

In the Rohtak Lok Sabha seat, there are 18,86,796 voters who will cast votes along with nine other seats in the state on May 25, while the results will be out on June 4.

(Vishal Gulati can be contacted at gulatiians@gmail.com)

Disclaimer: This story has not been edited by the Sakshi Post team and is auto-generated from syndicated feed.

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