Congress cries political vendetta as ED turns up heat on Hooda

After ex-Haryana CM Hooda was grilled by ED over Manesar land scam and money-laundering cases, the Congress dubbed it as a witch-hunt claiming that growing public support for the party’s campaign against Khattar govt’s policies had rattled the CM, reports Pawan Kumar Bansal

Bhupinder Singh Hooda and his half-a-dozen blue-eyed IAS officers are facing the heat of CBI and Enforcement Directorate for various alleged acts of omission and commission committed during his ten-year-rule. According to political analysts, central investigative agencies have intensified their investigations apparently at the instance of ‘political-bosses’, as Hooda, in his capacity as Leader of Congress Legislature Party, with active support of State Pradesh Congress Chief, Uday Bhan is busy holding a series of public meetings across the State to mobilise people on the issue of alleged anti-people policies, rampant corruption and lawlessness prevailing in the state ruled by government led by Manohar Lal.

Although elections of Haryana assembly are scheduled six months after Lok Sabha polls, there are reports that assembly-elections may be held along with Lok Sabha polls. Haryana CM Manohar Lal, when asked about the possibility of simultaneous polls in Haryana is reported to have said that although the party is ready but final call is to be taken by the party High Command. 

Manohar Lal, according to political- analysts, feels that the brand name of Narender Modi coupled with euphoria created by consecration of Ram Lala in Ayodhya, will cut into anti-incumbency sentiments prevalent across the state. There is also sentiment against the CM due to his “arrogant” attitude towards ordinary people during his public contact programs. Though Haryana has only 10 Lok Sabha seats, the state is a trend-setter in national politics. Hence, BJP wants good performance here. 

In the last elections, BJP riding on Modi-wave had won all the ten seats. Both Bhupinder Singh Hooda and his son, Deepender Hooda, were defeated from Sonipat and Rohtak, respectively, despite both being Jat-dominated Lok Sabha seats. Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who has taken command of Haryana, recently at a public meeting had appealed to people to ensure blooming of ‘ten lotus flowers,’ implying victory for BJP in all the ten seats.

To weaken Aam Aadmi party, the BJP has succeeded in engineering defection of its senior leader, former MP, Ashok Tanwar into saffron party fold after he was reportedly assured of party ticket from Ambala reserve Lok Sabha seat which recently fell vacant after the sitting party MP and former Union Minister, Rattan Lal Kataria passed away. However Kataria’s wife, Banto Kataria and former Haryana DGP, Baljit Sandhu are also lobbying for the ticket.

Hooda enjoys considerable influence in the Jat belt of Old Rohtak district in the Lok Sabha constituency comprising Rohtak, Jhajjar and Sonipat districts. Since Hooda has been CM for about a decade and so many people got benefitted in Change of Land Use business which flourished under his regime, he has supporters across the state. Hooda is facing investigations in Manesar land scam, allotment of industrial plots at Panchkula, re-allotment of plot to Messrs Associate Journal Limited running newspaper National Herald at Panchkula besides granting of colonization licence in Ulahwas village of Gurugram.

Ironically, the central agencies have intensified their investigations at a time when Hooda is also fighting battle of supremacy within the party from what is popularly known as “SRK” trio meaning Selja, former Union Minister, Randeep Surjewala and Kiran Choudhary, former Haryana Minister, all of whom incidentally enjoy proximity to senior party leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi.

Hooda enjoys support of the majority of party legislators besides the support of Pradesh Congress Chief Uday Bhan who owes his position to Hooda. There are apprehensions that CBI and Enforcement Directorate may also conduct raids on premises of supporters of Hooda in various land scams.

In Ulahawas (Gurugram) case, licence for colonization was allegedly given when even papers were not complete. File for licence was cleared with jet- speed in a single day by Chief Town Planner, Director, Town and Country Planning, Financial Commissioner, Town and Country Planning and Principal Secretary of CM with noting that CM has approved it. Bhupinder Singh Hooda had described the allegations against him as politics of witch- hunt and political vendetta.