New DelhiFormer Chief Minister and Leader of the Opposition Bhupinder Singh Hooda has said that “scam upon scam” has been happening in Haryana ever since the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power nine years ago – a remark in the run-up to the next parliamentary and assembly elections in Haryana. comes before Year.
In an interview with ThePrint, Hooda, a Jat leader who was chief minister between 2005 and 2014, said things were different when he left office nine years ago.
“Haryana has been number one in per capita income, per capita investment, employment generation and sports. We had law and order where people felt safe. Farmers got remunerative prices,” said the senior Congress leader. “But now, in these nine years, people are seeing scam after scam. We saw liquor scam, mining scam, registry scam, paper leak scampaddy purchase scam (in 2020), recruitment scam, and many more. The government constitutes a fresh Special Investigation Team (SIT) after every scam, but the report is never made public.
Speaking to ThePrint at the official residence of his son and Rajya Sabha MP Deepender Singh Hooda, on Talkatora Road in New Delhi, the former chief minister touched upon a range of topics – from Yamuna floods, the state of politics in Haryana and assembly elections next year to better remunerative prices that farmers have been demanding.
Hooda blamed the Haryana government’s poor management for last week’s floods in Delhi and neighboring areas – the remarks come at a time when the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP government is engaged in floods. bitter blame game With BJP Govt.
Here are excerpts from his interview with ThePrint.
Hooda said in his interview, Congress will win majority of parliamentary seats in Haryana and will form the next government after 2024 assembly elections.
Haryana has a total of 10 parliamentary and 90 assembly seats. While the BJP won all Lok Sabha seats in 2019, the party won 40 assembly seats as against 31 for the Congress in the same year. The Jannayak Janata Party (JJP), which made its electoral debut that year and is currently part of the ruling coalition in the state, won 10 seats.
He said that BJP came to power in 2014 on the basis of big promises. “But now, people have realized that they (BJP) talk but do not work. I am sure we are going to win maximum number of parliamentary seats from Haryana this time.
He said the people of the state were “fed up” with Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and his government.
He said, “They (BJP) made tall promises, but later accepted that these were Sentence (false promises). People have made up their mind. This time the Congress will form the government in the state.”
The state that never was “no”. No. 1 in employment is now No. 1 in unemployment levels, the former chief minister accused BJP governments at both the central and state levels of “playing with the future of the youth”.
There are 2 lakh government posts were lying vacant but instead of filling them, the government launched Kaushal Rozgar Nigam — an organization To recruit contract employees – in 2021 He said that the youth should be appointed on temporary basis.
Hooda also criticized the controversial Agneepath scheme – the Narendra Modi government’s short-term army recruitment scheme for youths aged 17.5 to 21 years. Thousands of people from Haryana are queuing up for army jobs, but the policy means soldiers will be sent back home within four years, he said.
According to him, sports have also realized the apathy of the BJP government.
He said, in the 2010 Commonwealth Games, players from the state won 22 out of a total of 38 medals. “But now, the whole world has seen how badly our sportspersons (read, wrestlers) have been treated by this government.”
Infighting in Congress and CM face of the party
The former CM also addressed reports of infighting within the senior Congress leadership in the state. Media reports have repeatedly highlighted the power-struggle between Hooda, senior leaders like former Haryana Congress president Kumari Selja, Tosham MLA and former CLP leader Kiran Choudhary and Rajya Sabha MP Randeep Surjewala.
However, Hooda dismissed such reports as “media manufactured”, and instead pointed to faults within the BJP.
Citing an example from 2014 to prove his point, he asked, “Have you ever seen (senior BJP leaders) Rao Inderjit Singh, Chaudhary Birender Singh, Ram Bilas Sharma and Chief Minister Khattar sharing a stage.”
“In 2014 (after the elections that year), I had asked a question in the state assembly. The CM was answering, but one minister after another kept interrupting him and trying to give his answer. When CM asked Anil Vij to sit, Vij refused to listen. There is a lack of unity in the BJP.”
Asked who would be the CM face of the Congress, Hooda said the party has a process to decide such things.
The Congress high command appoints an observer who forwards a name after talking to state legislators, he said. “People have seen this process being followed in Karnataka.”
But what happened in 2005, when senior Congress leader Bhajan Lal was appointed CM despite claiming to have more MLAs in his support? Hooda said, this is not true.
“When I was appointed CM in 2005, party observers met all the MLAs. When (former chief minister) Bhajan Lal boycotted the CLP meeting sensing defeat, only 18 of the 67 MLAs were with him. And when he finally left the Congress, only 3 MLAs were with him.
An enraged Bhajan Lal eventually quit the Congress in 2007 to start the Haryana Janhit Congress.
flood in yamuna
To a question about the floods that hit not only Delhi-NCR but also parts of Haryana last week, Hooda said it was not the first time that such a huge amount of water was released from Hathni Kund, a concrete barrage located in Haryana’s Yamunanagar district. The flood waters have been said to be partly responsible for the Delhi floods.
Haryana has been inundated in 12 out of 22 districts following flash floods caused by heavy rains in northern India earlier this month. Six of these – Yamunanagar, Karnal, Panipat, Sonipat, Faridabad and Palwal – were inundated due to rising Yamuna water.
In his interview, Huda said that in 2006, eight lakh cusecs of water was released from the concrete barrage – double the amount released this time. But then there was no flood because it was managed better, he said.
He also blamed government apathy for the situation and said that during his visit to the flood-affected districts of the state last week, he found that several panchayats had filed petitions for cleaning of drains. “But the (state) government paid no heed.”
Hooda also talked about implementing better remunerative prices for farmers – a major election issue in the state. The farmers are demanding the implementation of the Swaminathan report and better MSPs – the minimum price set by the government for certain agricultural products.
Set up by the then Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) in 2004, the eight-member National Commission headed by renowned agriculturist Professor MS Swaminathan was tasked with recommending agricultural reforms. The panel submitted five reports between December 2004 and October 2006.
In his interview when Hooda was asked about the Haryana BJP President OP Dhankar’s allegations He said that his government did not implement the recommendations, it is the BJP which is going back on its promise of doubling farmers’ income by 2022.
He was referring to Modi’s promise to ensure that farm income doubles by that year.
According to him the previous UPA government was implementing it Swaminathan reports in stages. “One of the recommendations was to make farmers debt-free,” he said. “On my initiative, the interest rate on farmers’ loans was reduced from 14 per cent to only 4 per cent across the country. In Haryana, I ensured that farmers get loans at zero percent interest.”
He said that if the BJP government had implemented the Swaminathan report in the right spirit, the farmers would not have needed loans for agricultural purposes.
One of the issues, according to him, is the calculation of MSP using the C2 formula instead of the A2+FL basis used now. The A2 + FL formula used now takes into account all paid input costs (A2) that farmers incur on seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, hired labour, leased land, fuel and irrigation and adds to this unpaid family labor (FL).
However, farmers argue that this formula means they will get a much lower MSP than what they could get if calculated using it C2 formula recommended by Swaminathan panel. Often seen as a more comprehensive method of calculation, the C2 formula factors in the foregone rent and interest on land and machinery on top of the A2+FL rate.
Asked why the Congress unit in Haryana was not aware of senior party leader Rahul Gandhi’s visit to the state earlier this month, Hooda said that is how the leader acted.
Rahul had reportedly gone to a village in Haryana’s Sonepat to talk to farmers and was photographed planting paddy with him.
“He (Rahul) likes meeting people and knowing their issues. He met mechanics, went to paddy fields and even met truck drivers in the United States of America,” Hooda said, referring to a US visit in June.
(Edited by Uttara Ramaswamy)