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I support scrapping of Article 370, my party has lost its way: Ex-Haryana CM BS Hooda

By Vishal S

Rohtak, Aug 18: Choosing to differ from his party's stand on scrapping Jammu and Kashmir's special status, senior Congress leader and former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda on Sunday said he supports revocation of Article 370. Speaking at 'Parivartan Maha Rally' at Rohtak, Hooda said many in Congress oppose Modi government's decision on Kashmir, but "When government does something right I support them".

Former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda

'Parivartan Maha Rally' at Rohtak is being seen as BS Hooda's show of strength ahead of assembly polls. Hooda's comments come at a time when speculations are doing round that something is not going well in the Congress ever since Sonia Gandhi took over as interim chief.

"I support the decision to abrogate Article 370 but I want to tell Haryana government that you will have to give an account of what you did in 5 years, do not hide behind this decision. Our brothers from Haryana are deployed as soldiers in Kashmir, that is why I supported it," Hooda said in Rohtak.

"When govt does something right I support them. Many of my colleagues opposed the decision to abrogate Article 370, my party has lost its way, it is not the same Congress it used to be. When it comes to patriotism and self-respect, I will not compromise with anyone," he added.

Congress is battling a rebellion of sorts as several leaders broke party line to back the BJP-led Central government on the Jammu and Kashmir bill and the move on Article 370. Congress leaders Janardan Dwivedi, Anil Shastri, Deependra Hooda, UP MLA Aditi Singh and Ranjeet Ranjan were among those who lauded the Centre's move to abrogate Article 370 and bifurcate the state of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories.

[Bhupinder Singh Hooda's rally in Rohtak today amid suspense over political future]

No senior Congress leader has been invited to the Rohtak rally which has led to speculation that Hooda could be thinking of charting an independent political course. The rally is being seen as a signal by Hooda that he should be projected as the chief ministerial candidate and appointed as state unit chief.

Hooda also promised to bring a law to ensure 75 percent reservation to locals in jobs.

"If we form the government, we will bring a law like Andhra Pradesh, so that 75% of jobs go to the people of Haryana," he said.

Hooda, a prominent Jat face of Haryana, and state Congress chief Ashok Tanwar, a Dalit leader considered close to former Congress president Rahul Gandhi, have been sparring over several issues for years. Meanwhile, some reports suggest that the Parivartan rally can also be an effort to arm-twist the party to remove Haryana Congress Chief Ashok Tanwar, who is close to former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi.

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