Congress has lost its way: Hooda supports BJP's Kashmir move
In a major blow to Congress, one of its stalwarts on Sunday openly supported the Centre's decision to annul Article 370 and bifurcate Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories. Two-time Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda said Congress has "lost its way" and it isn't the "old party" anymore. He made the stunning remarks at Parivartan Maha rally in his turf Rohtak.
Hooda, who has been associated with Congress for more than four decades, didn't mince his words. Addressing a massive gathering, he said, "(Article) 370 was removed and many of my colleagues opposed it. My party has lost its way a bit. It is not the old Congress anymore. When it comes to issues of patriotism and self-respect, I will never compromise."
Hooda's son, Deepender Singh, also spoke on the same lines but added he wasn't too pleased with the process with which Centre revoked Article 370. "I opposed the way it was scrapped, but I support its removal. I will always support this... but people who are using this for political mileage - I am not with them," Hooda Jr. said.
For days now, the state Congress unit has been divided. Hooda's supporters want that he should be made the chief of Haryana Congress, replacing Ashok Tanwar. Speculations suggested that the Hoodas might split from Congress and float a new party. Though no such announcement was made at the rally, Hooda said he will form a committee of 13 MLAs to decide "future course of action".
Haryana is all set to go into polls in October this year and Hooda's behavior might prove costly to the party. On Sunday, he appeared on stage with "his pre-planned manifesto" in which he doled out various sops, including 75% reservation in jobs for residents of Haryana. He even declared himself as a CM candidate, "with or without his party".
"When I became the CM, they said who would let me continue for more than six months. I ran the government for 10 years. Once again, I have the support of all 36 castes, I will not leave it for another 10 years," he added.
To note, Hooda is not the only Congress leader whose opinion on Article 370 is different from the party's. Earlier, leaders like Jyotiraditya Scindia, Janardhan Dwivedi, Jaiveer Shergill, openly supported BJP's move. "I support the move on #JammuAndKashmir & #Ladakh and its full integration into union of India. Would have been better if constitutional process had been followed, (sic)" Scindia had tweeted.