M A I N   N E W S

Hooda plans ‘sop opera’ to beat anti-incumbency3
Pradeep Sharma/TNS

Chandigarh, November 8
Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda is set to announce major sops to woo different sections of society during the “Haryana shakti rally” at Gohana on November 10. The aim: To beat anti-incumbency in the parliamentary and Assembly elections scheduled for next year.

The sops are likely to benefit around 20 lakh beneficiaries under various social security schemes, including old-age pensioners, widow pensioners and physically challenged persons. Other announcements been finalised by the state government include special allowance to over 55,000 police personnel, more job opportunities than the already-announced 55,000 government jobs, increase in honorarium for village watchmen and anganwari workers, besides some relief to the government employees.

Hooda today hinted at these sops during a rally, but refused to divulge any further details. Sources close to him, however, said major announcements were being finalised for the November 10 rally.

“Pre-poll sops could prove to be the best antidote to anti-incumbency against the Hooda government that had been in office for nearly nine years now,” a close aide of the Chief Minister told The Tribune here today. In fact, the November 10 rally is being seen as a major show of strength for the Congress and Hooda that had been at the receiving end over allegations of lopsided development, discrimination in jobs and alleged irregularities in change of land use (CLU) cases.

Though Hooda calls it a party affair, he seems to have made the success of this rally a matter of personal prestige.

The success of the rally will go a long way in reasserting Hooda’s authority over the faction-ridden Congress, besides sending a clear message to the party high command that only Hooda could lead the party to the third term in office. It would also send a message to the Opposition parties basking in the success of Narendra Modi’s Rewari rally and INLD’s November 1 rally.

Meanwhile, the BJP has come down heavily on the alleged misuse of government machinery by the Congress government and the huge expenditure being incurred by the party on holding the rally.

In the offing

  • Increase in pension for over 20 lakh beneficiaries under various social security schemes
  • More allowances for the 55,000 police personnel
  • Increased honorarium for anganwari workers and village watchmen

Dissidents to stay away

Factionalism in the Congress would raise its ugly head again at the Gohana rally. While the rally would be attended by Haryana Congress in charge Shakeel Ahmed and leaders of the Hooda-Mullana faction, Hooda’s detractors within the party such as Union Minister Kumari Selja, Rajya Sabha member Birender Singh, Gurgaon MP Rao Inderjit Singh and Rajya Sabha member Ishwar Singh would skip the rally





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