“There’s not even a semblance of a government in Haryana,” former chief minister of the state, Bhupinder Singh Hooda tells Harpreet Bajwa and labels incumbent Bharatiya Janata Party leader Manohar Lal Khattar an accidental chief minister.
How do you judge the performance of the present Manohar Lal Khattar-led BJP Government in Haryana?
There’s not even a semblance of a government in Haryana. The experience, inefficiency and inaptitude of the accidental chief minister have resulted in total collapse of law and order. Debt, crime, corruption, casteism and chaos have increased in four-and-a-half years.
Khattar is in office but not in power. The non-performance of this government has wasted five years of Haryana, a state that was on the fast-track of development during the nine-and-half-year rule of the Congress. The people are disappointed and feel duped by the unfulfilled poll promises of the BJP.
On what issues will the Congress fight the coming Lok Sabha elections?
The Congress will raise real and urgent issues in election campaigns like creation of jobs for youth, redressal of grievances of farmers, scams, national security and other development issues.
You undertook Jan Kranti Yatra in Haryana. What was the aim behind it?
We undertook Jan Kranti Yatra, held kisan panchayats, Dalit panchayats, vyapari sammelans and other programmes to strengthen the Congress and to highlight the failures of the BJP Government. The BJP government failed to fulfil any of the poll-promises and the grievances of all sections of society were highlighted through these programmes.
That the Congress is a divided house in Haryana became evident from the fact that Randeep Singh Surjewala lost in Jind by-poll. What’s your take?
The Congress is not a divided a house. We are working to strengthen the party under the leadership of our national president Rahul Gandhi. In fact, Congress leaders and workers in Haryana worked unitedly for Surjewala.
Since you’re a Jat leader, will your nomination as Congress’ CM face polarize votes?
I object to being labelled as leader of a particular caste. I don’t believe in caste politics in which BJP is indulging blatantly.
The CBI registered cases against you in Gurugram and Panchkula. Your take?
It’s purely political vendetta. During the Congress’ rule in Haryana nobody raised any questions on these alleged scams. Nothing has been done outside of policies and government rules. The truth shall prevail.
Do you consider the JPP a threat?
The newly-formed JJP isn’t a threat to anyone in the Lok Sabha elections.