New Delhi, Oct 24 (IANS) The impressive performance by the Congress in the Haryana assembly polls can be credited to its senior leader and former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, who virtually compelled the party leadership to project him as the party’s face in the polls.
Hooda, almost on his own, pulled the party from a state of despondency to increase its numbers in the Assembly from 15 to 31.
While top BJP leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party president Amit Shah, campaigned hard, the Congress fight was mostly left to Hooda along with state president Kumari Selja as no central leader actively took part in the electioneering. Only Rahul Gandhi held two rallies in the state for the October 21 election.
It was do-or-die battle for Hooda, who was on the verge of leaving the party. The two-time chief minister was sidelined after Congress was decimated in two consecutive Lok Sabha polls. Internal rift within the party surfaced after former Congress president Rahul Gandhi promoted Ashok Tanwar in the state.
A few months ago, Hooda at a rally in Rohtak launched a veiled attack on the Congress and its top leaders. From the dais at the rally he had threatened: “My workers will decide whether I should be with the Congress or do something else.”
The Congress top leadership was in complete mess with Rahul Gandhi resigning the post of party president. When Sonia Gandhi became interim party chief, she brought Hooda on board and made him the chief of the election management committee.
Sonia Gandhi also defused the internal conflict by removing Tanwar as state party president and making Selja as state head. Tanwar, who is at loggerheads with Hooda, had even protested outside Sonia Gandhi’s house over the distribution of tickets for elections.
Hooda had made it clear to Sonia that without him, the party would not be able to get into the fight mode. He had also told Sonia that the party would face a tough situation in the state.