In rebellion mode, Bhupinder Hooda says he’s CM candidate, with or without Congress

Former Haryana chief minister and Congress leader B S Hooda at the rally in Rohtak on Sunday. (Express photo)

After four decades of association with the Congress, Haryana’s two-time chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda on Sunday announced rebellion from the stage of his Parivartan rally in Rohtak while declaring himself as the chief ministerial candidate, with or without his party.

Unlike the Congress, which prepares an election manifesto with the help of a committee comprising senior leadership before releasing it, Hooda appeared on the stage pre-planned and announced his own manifesto, declaring various sops, including 75 per cent reservation in jobs for the people of Haryana.

Vidhan Sabha polls are due in October this year.

In Rohtak, Hooda today began his address by saying, Aaj main apni saari paabandiyon se mukt ho kar yahan aaya hoon (I have freed myself from all restrictions to come here today) .

The former chief minister went onto lash out at his own party on the revocation of Article 370, saying, Sarkaar jo theek kaam karti hai, chaahe kendra ki ho ya pradesh ki, main theek ko theek kehta hoon. 370 hatai meri party bhi kuch bhatak gayi, voh pehle vaali Congress nahi rahi. Lekin, jahan tak sawaal hai deshbhakti ka aur swabhiman ka, main kisi se samjhauta nahi karunga. Isi ke vaaste maine 370 ka samarthan kiya (When the government does something right, I support them. Many of my colleagues had opposed the decision to abrogate Article 370. My party has lost its way, it s not the same Congress it used to be. When it comes to patriotism and self-respect, I will not compromise with anyone)."

"My party has lost its way, it s not the same Congress it used to be," B S Hooda told the crowd. (Express photo)

Earlier this month, Hooda had said in the Assembly it was good that the BJP had fulfilled one of the promises it made in the poll manifesto. Hooda s recent assertion comes amid speculation of parting ways with the Congress and joining hands with another national party or floating a new political outfit.

The Congress leader, however, also sought an account of achievements in the past five years from the Manohar Lal Khattar government. Coincidentally, Khattar also kicked off a 2,100-km road journey (rath yatra) covering the length and breadth of Haryana on Sunday.

I support the decision to abrogate Article 370 but I want to tell the Haryana government that you will have to give an account of what you did in five years, don t hide behind this decision, ANI quoted the former chief minister as saying.

Our brothers from Haryana are deployed as soldiers in Kashmir, that is why I support it (Article 370), Hooda said.

The crowd at the B S Hooda’s Parivartan rally in Rohtak on Sunday. (Express photo)

The Congress leader’s other aides Palwal MLA Karan Dalal, Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee’s former president Phool Chand Mullana, Vidhan Sabha’s former speaker Raghubir Singh Kadian and Jhajjar MLA Geeta Bhukkal also openly challenged the party high command from the stage to either declare Hooda as party president in Haryana or face consequences.

Hooda enjoys the support of 12 out of 15 Congress MLAs in Haryana. More than 60 former MPs and MLAs of Congress party shared the stage with Hooda in Rohtak today. For the last three years, the Hooda camp has been pressurising the party high command to replace Haryana Congress chief Ashok Tanwar with Bhupinder Hooda as party president.

Continuing his address to the crowd, Hooda declared that he shall constitute a 25-member committee, comprising 12 MLAs and 13 others, to decide the future course of action . He announced that within one week, he shall announce the committee’s decision in Chandigarh.

Referring to a law in Andhra Pradesh that makes it mandatory for the government to employ three out of four employees from within the state, Hood said a similar legislation would be brought in Haryana.

If we form the government, we will bring a law like Andhra Pradesh, so that 75% of jobs go to the people of Haryana, he said.