NEW DELHI: As former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda faces the heat of ongoing Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe, political circles in Haryana are talking about future course of action and alternatives available to the Congress.
The significance of last month’s chance meeting between Mr. Hooda and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Parliament House is also not lost. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had won a majority in Haryana in last assembly polls held in October 2014 and formed the government.
The general perception going around in the State is that the BJP has failed to make an impressive impression among the people so far as governance is concerned and the party would be open to having electoral understanding with smaller regional outfits in the next assembly elections.
Though Mr. Hooda himself played down his recent meeting with Mr. Modi, speculation is rife about his political move amid the CBI probe into land deals during his tenure. Mr. Hooda sought to explain his meeting with Mr. Modi by saying that they used to meet up as chief ministers whenever a meeting was held in the national Capital.
As the BJP chief Amit Shah is criss-crossing the country to widen the base of the party, already touted as the largest political party, he would like to further strengthen the party by roping in a tall Jat leader. The million dollar question then remains: Will Mr. Hooda fit into the scheme of things of the BJP? As there is the question of probity and the CBI investigation against him, the BJP might encourage Mr. Hooda to form his own regional outfit and then take his support. But these possibilities remain in the realm of speculation.
Jats are influential in Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan and the BJP President Amit Shah is known for working minutely into all details, there is a possibility that the party would try and lure a Jat leader of some stature into its fold. Mr. Hooda’s family is well known and entrenched and his “Kisan Panchayats’’ in the recent past have managed to get good numbers.
However, the delicate task would be to achieve a balance between Jats and non-Jats in Haryana. If indications are to be believed, a new political equation may emerge in the State in the coming months. The Congress may, after the return of the party vice president Rahul Gandhi from his U.S. tour, try and inject a new life in the workers by reshuffling the pack in the party set-up in Haryana.