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Hooda pleases all at Gohana show
Haryana CM doles out sops
Detractors stay away
Geetanjali Gayatri/TNS

Gohana, November 10
Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda today opened the floodgates of pre-poll sops, liberally doling out please-all incentives at the Congress' Haryana Shakti rally in the town.

The 99-acre plot, chosen for the venue, was full to its capacity, emphatically underlining Hooda's political management. His sop-after-sop sequence, especially the hike in old-age pension, lifting the ban on recruitment, reining in the bureaucracy with his Right to Service Act and one-time loan settlement was cheered by the crowd much to the delight of the state Congress.

Despite the euphoria, the picture appeared incomplete in the absence of Union minister Selja and Rajya Sabha MP Birender Singh, the symbols of the "dissident camp". Yet it all seemed an out-and-out "Hooda affair".

Congress leaders -- Ashok Tanwar, MLA Venod Sharma and minister Geeta Bhukkal -- cited the large numbers at the rally venue as evidence of "inclusive growth and even-handed development" to counter charges of lop-sided development and step-motherly treatment to the Dalits.

Hooda did not spare the opposition at a time when the BJP is riding on the "Narendra Modi wave" and the Indian Nationa Lok Dal is still celebrating the success of its recent Kurukshetra rally. Hooda said their "alliance politics" was aimed at only serving their interests.

"The BJP can't seem to decide whether it wants an alliance with the Haryana Janhit Congress or the INLD. The INLD talks of wiping away the thugs when they themselves are credited with creating them. Kuldeep Bishnoi's HJC claims as if only it can deliver a corruption-free government when we all know where all the lessons in corruption came from. So, the only lasting alliance is between you and me, between the people and the Congress," Hooda said from the flower-bedecked dais where Congress leaders were seated.

Hooda began by wooing the farming community at a venue bathed in Congress colours of saffron, white and green. The new schemes targeted farmers and agriculture labourers. These also included enhanced old age allowance, a hike in the minimum wages, better pension for widows and the handicapped. He also offered a one-time settlement scheme for cooperative loans and enactment of a new legislation for those operating rehris. Also found mention were traders, employees, teachers, students, minority communities and other weaker sections.

Congress general Secretary in charge of Haryana, Shakeel Ahmed, referred to the massive crowd and said: "This is proof of your love for the Congress and, if this is any indication, the party is all set to come back to power a third time in Haryana."

Earlier, the party's Members of Parliament were given a chance to address the rally, given the fact that Lok Sabha elections are round the corner. Deepinder Hooda received a rousing welcome. He said the Hooda government had chosen to take the state on the road to development. "I don't claim we have done everything. We have our shortcomings. However, you will never find us wanting on our intention to deliver and serve," he said.

Bhiwani MP Shruti Choudhry said her grandfather, Bansi Lal, considered the architect of Haryana, had brought development to the state. It was only after Hooda came to power that development was being seen and heard of again. She raised the demand for a women's college at Badra.

Haryana minister Randeep Singh Surjewala likened the rally with a "mahakumbh." Ministers Kiran Chodhary, Savitri Jindal, Paramvir Singh and Aftab Ahmed said the Hooda government had changed the course of politics by moving away from vendetta to development.

The incentives

  • Old-age pension, widow pension and allowance to physically challenged increased to Rs 1,000 per month
  • Minimum wages for labourers to go up from Rs 5,342 to Rs 8,100 per month
  • Interim relief of Rs 2,000 per month to Class III and IV employees by the time the recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission are received
  • Police personnel to get risk allowance of Rs 5,000 per month
  • Insurance plan offering assistance of Rs 5 lakh to the family of a farmer or an agricultural labourer in case of death during work
  • One-time settlement scheme for long and short-term farm loans, offering 50 per cent rebate on total interest
  • Filling the backlog of 15,041 reserved posts (8,781 for SCs and 6,260 for BCs) in a year
  • The Right to Services Act to make government officials responsive
  • Construction of 50,000 flats for soldiers and ex-servicemen in cities like Gurgaon, Faridabad and Panchkula; to be allotted at concessional rates; exemption from house tax
  • Assistance of up to Rs 5 lakh to shopkeepers suffering loss due to fire or floods
  • Abolition of Form 38 from January 1, 2014, to provide relief to traders from "Inspector Raj"
  • Compensation for damage to crops due to natural calamities to go up to Rs 10,000 per acre
  • Assistance to orphan and destitute children for education up from Rs 200 to Rs 500 per month
  • Plan offering assistance from Rs 20,000 to Rs 50,000 in case of death of a milch cattle
  • One-time interest-waiver on loans to SC, BC and economically weaker sections
  • Increase in wages of safai karamcharis, chowkidars, aanganwai workers, numberdars
  • New law to safeguard interests of street vendors
  • Filling 65,000 vacant posts
  • Free bus travel for girl students of schools and colleges and 50% rebate in application fee for government jobs to women





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