As Hooda gets down to business with a 'Maha Rally' in Gohana town on November 10 to mark his four years in office, he is already claiming that his government "has not only fulfilled its election promises but has carried out works beyond the promises made in all the areas".
Hooda, who first became chief minister in March 2005, had called assembly elections five months ahead of schedule. The Congress then managed to get only 40 seats in the 90-member assembly but Hooda formed the government by roping in independent legislators and offering them ministerial and other important berths.
"The previous tenure of the government was symbolic of social, economic and educational revolution. Now, in the four years of the present term, besides fulfilling the promises made in primary areas like agriculture, irrigation, electricity, education, health and industry, the government has also built a strong structure of modern development. Haryana has become an ideal state in the entire country in the field of education, sports and inclusive growth," Hooda claimed on completing four years in his second term.
While Hooda may claim that Haryana has become an ideal and trendsetter state, the opposition and a section of senior leaders within his Congress party refuse to toe this line.
Just a couple of days before completing four years in office, Hooda and union Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Selja, who is the Lok Sabha MP from Ambala, shared the dais for the first time in three years in the presence of a union minister at an event in Ambala district. The news here was not their sharing the dais but the verbal barbs that they traded.
Selja, Rajya Sabha MP Birender Singh, Gurgaon MP Inderjit Singh and some other leaders have been accusing Hooda of discrimination in development of their areas in the state. While Hooda has been dismissing their claims with statistics, these leaders too have not relented. These 'detractors' within the Congress seem to be playing the opposition's role.
With top opposition leaders, former chief minister Om Prakash Chautala and his son Ajay Chautala of the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) behind bars after their conviction earlier this year in a teachers' recruitment scam, Hooda and his camp in the ruling Congress see a clear opportunity in winning next year's assembly election. The INLD, which was eyeing a comeback, is clearly not as formidable with the presence of the two Chautalas.
The Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC) led by former chief minister Bhajan Lal's son and Hisar MP Kuldip Bishnoi, which is in alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has been trying its best to remain active in the Haryana hinterland but the combine has its own limitations in the state's politics that is dominated by leaders of the Jat community.
Given the present political scenario, the Hooda camp certainly thinks that the Congress has an edge to win the assembly polls. Their calculations may alter once the results of next year's general elections, likely to be held in April-May, are out.
(Jaideep Sarin can be contacted at email@example.com)
--IANS (Posted on 31-10-2013)