CHANDIGARH: In a veiled dig at former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Haryana minister Abhimanyu Saturday alleged people know who "burnt" the state in 2016, an apparent reference to violence which broke out during Jat quota stir in the state.
"Ye public hai, sab jaanti hai (people know everything)," Abhimanyu told reporters in Rohtak. The Haryana finance minister was referring to the incidents of violence which broke out during Jat quota stir three years ago when Hooda was the chief minister.
Rohtak and Sonipat were the epicentre of the violence which broke out in other parts as well, leaving 30 dead and scores injured.
Large scale damage to property, especially in Rohtak, was also caused by the arsonists. The ruling BJP has on numerous occasions blamed Hooda's supporters of being behind the incidents of the violence.
Earlier this week, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar while addressing an election meeting in Sonipat parliamentary constituency, had indirectly accused Hooda of "burning" Haryana during the Jat quota violence 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," Abhimanyu said. He said that people are waiting for the elections "to punish those faces".
Hooda has maintained that Prakash Singh probe panel had indicted officials right up to the chief minister's office for various lapses and claimed that BJP leaders were levelling baseless allegations to cover up their government's "failure" to tackle the situation which arose when the violence broke.
"Since BJP came to power, Haryana burnt thrice. In 2015, during self-styled godman Rampal case, in 2016 during Jat agitation and in 2017 when the Dera Sacha Sauda chief was convicted," Hooda alleged.
When asked that Hooda has vowed to punish those behind acts of violence during the Jat quota stir, if Congress comes to power after next Vidhan Sabha polls, Abhimanyu said people know who conspired to burn Rohtak and who was behind the violence.
"People will punish them because the situation that arose due to the violence forced closure of schools, hit trade, adversely hit a daily wager. Nobody can forget these things, people are waiting for the polls to teach them a lesson," he said.
Hooda, a two-time chief minister, a sitting MLA from Garhi Sampla-Kiloi in Rohtak, is contesting the parliamentary polls from Sonipat, a Jat-dominated constituency.
His son Deepender Singh Hooda is seeking re-election from Rohtak for the fourth term. With 10 Lok Sabha seats of Haryana going to polls in the sixth phase on May 12, the BJP has stepped up its attack on the Congress in the state, particularly targeting the Hoodas, who are seen as strong candidates in their bastions.
Asked about Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra's roadshow in Rohtak on Tuesday, Abhimanyu said, "Those who think they are the 'Sultans' of Rohtak, now need 'Shehzadi' (Priyanka) to come too".
Abhimanyu exuded confidence that the NDA government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi will once again return to power while the Congress and its allies will have to bite the dust.