Former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda has said that the Congress would repeat its 2009 performance in the Lok Sabha elections when it won nine of 10 seats in the state and asserted that the target is also to form government in the Assembly polls later this year.
In an interview to IANS, Hooda, who is contesting from Sonipat Lok Sabha seat, said the Congress-led UPA will form the government at the Centre after the parliamentary election results are out on May 23.
Hooda said that his main contest is with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and the saffron party will finish second.
“I think 2009 can be repeated. We won nine seats (in Haryana) in 2009. It is possible that we win all 10 this time. The response (of people) is very good,” he said.
The Congress, he said, will also increase its tally manifold nationally compared to 2014 when it won only 44 seats. “The prospects of party-led UPA are also very good,” he said.
The former Chief Minister said the Narendra Modi government has failed to fulfil any of its promises made in 2014 and the income of farmers has come down.
“I tell voters that those who got Rs 15 lakh (2014 poll promise of BJP), they can vote for BJP and others should vote for us. The investment cost of farmer has increased but his income has come down. Traders have been adversely impacted by ‘notebandi’ (demonetisation) and GST. Every section of society is suffering.”
Asked why he is contesting Lok Sabha polls when his main interest is state politics, Hooda said success in the general elections will pave the way for return of the Congress to power in Assembly polls.
“As we win Lok Sabha polls, we will win the state polls also,” he said, adding that the target is to form the Congress government in the state but the Lok Sabha polls have to be won first.
Answering a query, Hooda said although he did not intend to fight the Lok Sabha polls, he always said that he would abide by the directions of the party.
“In 2004, the same thing happened. I was MLA. The party told me to fight and I contested. I was the Leader of Opposition at that time,” he said.
Hooda won from Rohtak in 2004 and was picked up by the party to lead the Congress government after the Assembly elections. His supporters feel the conditions are similar this time.
Asked if the party should project a chief ministerial candidate for the Assembly polls, he said the object is to bring the Congress to power.
“The choice of Chief Minister is done by the MLAs and the high command,” he said.
Hooda attacked the incumbent BJP government in Haryana, saying it is “most corrupt”.
“It’s a total failure. It has become non-performing asset for the people of Haryana. It is a non-performing government. It is the most corrupt. The law and order situation has worsened,” he said.
Asked if the Jind Assembly by-election earlier this year, in which the party finished third, could impact party’s prospects in the Lok Sabha elections, he said it will not and noted that the party ruling the state normally wins a by-election.
Answering a query about the Modi factor, he said there is no such wave. “There is no wave favouring anyone,” he added.
Hooda’s main contest is with sitting BJP MP Ramesh Kaushik and Digvijay Singh Chautala of Jannayak Janta Party (JJP). He said the JJP candidate is unlikely to save his deposit.
(Prashant Sood can be reached at [email protected])