Sonepat: The Sonepat Lok Sabha seat, where Bhupinder Singh Hooda of the Congress is pitted against sitting BJP MP Ramesh Kaushik and Digvijay Singh Chautala of the JJP, has become the centre of state politics due to acrimony involved in campaigning. A rancorous war of words was witnessed between Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and Hooda and also between the former Chief Minister and Digvijay.
Khattar fired the first salvo when, while addressing an election meeting for Kaushik, he indirectly accused Hooda of burning Haryana during the Jat quota violence in February 2016 by alleging that the former Chief Minister’s supporters were involved in the act. “People know it very well who was behind the burning of the state during the Jat agitation. People will never forget those faces and punish them at the time of voting,” he said. He claimed that Hooda would lose the election from Sonepat and his son Deepender Singh Hooda bite the dust in Rohtak.
Pooh-poohing Hooda for his remarks that his victory from Sonepat would pave the way for the Chief Minister’s chair through Delhi, Khattar said such a thought would not come even in the mind of a child. “Only a foolish person can think of going from Sonepat to Chandigarh by first going to Delhi and then taking a reverse gear from Delhi,” he added.
Livid over Khattar’s remarks, Hooda threw a challenge to the Chief Minister. “Let Khattar resign from the post of Chief Minister if I win. I promise that I will quit politics if I lose,” Hooda told mediapersons. “Since Khattar came to power, he burnt Haryana thrice. He burnt the state in 2015 during Rampal case, in 2016 during Jat agitation and in 2017 when the Dera Sacha Sauda chief was convicted,” Hooda alleged.
Hooda alleged that Khattar was habitual of levelling such allegations because his government had done nothing for the state. He challenged Khattar to a debate on development during their respective tenures. Meanwhile, responding to Hooda’s comment that he had entered the fray from Sonepat to play spoilsport, Digvijay said he had come to Sonepat for politics for the next three decades. He said Hooda had claimed that he wanted to remain an MP only till the Assembly elections.
Reacting to Digvijay’s statement, Hooda said people of Sonepat knew that it was his second home as his wife was from the district and his mother was from Jind, which was a part of the Sonepat Lok Sabha seat.
‘Congress losing, will blame it on EVMs’
Khattar said the Congress was losing and it would attribute it to various reasons, including the hacking of EVMs. The CM was speaking to mediapersons after attending an event organised by the Rashtriya Punjabi Mahasangh in Ambala. He said: “The Congress has many misconceptions and there is no remedy for misconceptions. The Congress is losing and it will claim that the EVMs were hacked. For the Congress, the EVM stands for ‘Ek Veham Mera’.”