Move to book Hooda may boomerang on BJP
The move of booking former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda in a criminal case by the State Vigilance Bureau (SVB) and recommendation of a CBI probe against him by the state leadership is all set to assume a political overtone, especially in the Jat heartland of the state, comprising Rohtak, Sonepat and Jhajjar districts.
The move may boomerang on the state BJP leadership as it may mobilise Congress workers, in general, and Hooda’s supporters from the Deswali Jat belt, in particular. Political pundits point out that despite the strong pro-Modi wave during the last year’s Assembly elections, Congress nominees had won 10 of 14 Assembly seats falling under Rohtak, Jhajjar and Sonepat districts.
“It is a typical case of political vendetta. The state leadership is trying to implicate the former Chief Minister as the BJP government’s own graph is going down with every passing day,” said former Rohtak MLA Bharat Bhushan Batra, considered to be Hooda’s trusted lieutenant.
On being asked about the party’s strategy to counter the move, he said they were adopting a “wait-and-watch” approach as of now. “We will explore all options after the state as well as Central authorities concerned clear their stance regarding the matter,” he said.
Batra pointed out if the state government wanted, it could have cancelled the allotment of industrial plots, but instead of doing so, it has made tactful and calculated moves to implicate Hooda.
On the other hand, state BJP general secretary-cum-Rohtak MLA Manish Grover has rubbished the allegations of political vendetta. He said the case had been registered on the basis of a Vigilance report which had pointed out gross irregularities in the allotment of the plots.
“They looted the state. When the law-enforcement machinery has started to probe their wrongdoings, they are crying foul and alleging vendetta,” he said.
Agriculture Minister Om Prakash Dhankhar said there was no vendetta and the case against Hooda and others had been registered after the preliminary findings had indicated irregularities in the allotment of plots. “The rest will be clear after the CBI inquiry,” he added.