Hooda supporting Ajit Singh's memorial demand: Is it an attempt to woo Jats in Haryana?

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Bhupinder Singh Hooda
Ajit Singh who has incited his vote banks in Western Uttar Pradesh for usurping a government bungalow in Lutyens' zone received support from an unexpected quarter in the name of Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda. Hooda has come out in support of Singh's demand of converting 12, Tughlaq Road bungalow into Chaudhary Charan Singh memorial.

What has Hooda said?

Congress strongman Hooda came out in open support of Ajit Singh and wrote a letter to urban development minister M Venkaiah Naidu on Wednesday, Hooda called the eviction notice to Ajit Singh "unceremonious and discourteous" behaviour and suggested that the house where Charan Singh lived be turned into a memorial.

How Centre responded to Hooda's letter?

Naidu too had shot off a stern letter to Hooda, asking why was this issue not raised during the UPA regime between 2004 and 2014.

"Regarding declaration of the said bungalow as Charan Singh Memorial, I am afraid you are unaware of the policy in the matter. The Union Cabinet in 2000 had banned such conversions ... Further, the Supreme Court in its judgment dated 5th July, 2013 had suggested not to allow any general pool residential accommodation to be converted into memorials," Naidu said.

In his letter, Naidu said, "I am taken by surprise by the choice of your words ... it appears that you have been totally misled in the matter... Facts are to the contrary."

Hooda wants to win Jat votes?

Hooda's sudden bonhomie towards Ajit Singh's cause hints that the Congress leader wants to give a political twist to the issue so that he can reap the benefits in the upcoming assembly polls in Haryana.

It seems by taking up Ajit Singh's cause Hooda wants to woo the Jat votes in Haryana by wooing the Jats of Western UP, which is a traditional vote bank of RLD. Hooda feels that by winning the Jat hearts in UP he can achieve a pro-Jat sentiment in Haryana which will help him in the next month's assembly polls.

Why Hooda wants Jat votes?

Hooda, the two time Haryana CM, is facing a strong anti-incumbency wave in the state and his chances of becoming third time lucky are almost grim. Thus, he's leaving no stones unturned to woo the voters.

Jats are in a big numbers in the state of Haryana and have been playing a crucial role in deciding the fortunes of the political parties in the state. Their support ensures a party has already crossed the half way mark in Haryana assembly polls. But, the incumbent Congress government doesn't enjoys Jats' support any more.

Experts are of the view that Jats will poll in favour of Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) which is a pro-Jat party. Also, after decimation of Congress in the Lok Sabha polls and splitting of BJP-HJC alliance INLD is likely to emerge as the single largest party in the assembly polls. This, will further reduce Hooda's chances of coming to power since INLD was a BJP ally in the past and the two might come together again in case of a fractured mandate.

INLD can also take help of BJP, HJC defectors to form its own government in the state. Thus, it is not into Hooda and Congress's interest.

Also, Hooda has lost, Birender Singh, a popular Jat leader from his party to the BJP. Birender Singh's presence will help the BJP lure the remaining Jat votes. This is another problem for Hooda and Congress. Hence, the only option left with the party is to try to develop a pro-Jat image by associating with the Jats outside Haryana and gain sympathy amongst its own people. But, supporting wrong cause and politicising them is not going to help Bhupinder Hooda win assembly polls.

Also, Hooda must remember that the people of western UP have rejected Ajit Singh's party which even failed to open its account in the general election. Message was clear, he didn't work for the people of his region hence he was rejected. Had Hooda worked for the overall development of the state instead of promoting corruption.

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