Haryana No.1? It’s a hot poll issue

By Jaideep Sarin, IANS,

Chandigarh : It might sound like a David Dhawan film title, but actually “Haryana No.1” is the one poll issue that has ignited the passions of most political parties in the state ahead of the Oct 13 assembly elections.

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While the ruling Congress, led by Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, is shouting from every possible place that Haryana has become No.1 state in many aspects, the opposition parties are ridiculing the claim. Besides the issues of price rise, governance and law and order being taken up by all political parties, the central focus is the fight to support or oppose this claim.

“The people of this state have seen development in the last four and a half years of Congress rule. They have seen other opportunist leaders and parties also who have ruined this state. Haryana is No.1 in per capita income and other things among all states,” Hooda told IANS.

Hooda’s claim even got a pat from economist Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi when both leaders publicly praised his leadership for the development in Haryana.

Sonia Gandhi even went to the extent of saying that the state, during non-Congress rule, had a ‘Jis ki lathi uski bhaens’ (might is right) situation.

But opposition parties and leaders are unwilling to accept Hooda’s claims.

“This is a government of property dealers. Haryana has achieved the No.1 status only in corruption, deteriorating law and order situation and misery of people. The winds of change are too evident,” Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) leader and former chief minister Om Prakash Chautala said.

While the ruling Congress, which got the previous assembly dissolved to seek early assembly polls, is upbeat about its prospects, it also wants to take advantage of a divided opposition.

The INLD, the Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC), the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) are fighting the assembly polls independently for all the 90 seats.

“Yeh sirf waadon, ghoshnaon aur ghotalon ki sarkar hai (The Hooda government is only about promises, announcements and scams). We want the people in Haryana to give us one chance. BJP governments in other states are doing so well,” senior BJP leader and former union minister Vijay Kumar Goel said here.

Senior Congress leaders say the opposition parties have no issues to put up before the electorate and are therefore trying to question the ‘No. 1 state’ status.

“On what basis is the opposition questioning the No.1 status of Haryana? We have the highest per capita income in the country. The state has seen a lot of development in the last five years. The Hooda government has done a lot for the welfare of the people, improving the state’s economic condition and improving law and order,” senior Congress leader and Congress campaign committee chairman Venod Kumar Sharma said.

The results of the Oct 13 elections will at least show who is the ‘No. 1 party’ in the state!

(Jaideep Sarin can be contacted at [email protected])