Former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda on Sunday dared Chief Minister M L Khattar to contest the upcoming Baroda assembly bypoll, saying he is ready to face him in the fray.
Baroda assembly seat in Sonipat district fell vacant in April following the demise of sitting Congress MLA Shri Krishan Hooda. No poll date has been announced as yet.
Hooda, who is the Leader of the Opposition in Haryana assembly, said if the Khattar government is confident of its performance, the chief minister should contest the by-election.
Baroda assembly seat falling Jat-dominated Deswali belt of Rohtak-Sonipat region is considered Hoodas' stronghold and the Congress had reaped rich electoral gains in the 2019 assembly polls from there.
"If the government is confident of its development work, CM Khattar should come in as the candidate in Baroda by-election. If Khattar contests the by-election, I am ready to contest against him.
"Let the Baroda byelections decide if the people are satisfied with the development work and vote on the popularity of the government," Hooda, a two-time chief minister told reporters here.
Hooda said that Khattar during a visit to Baroda constituency recently had reportedly stated if the people of Baroda want a stake in the government, they should vote for the BJP.
"Khattar should have instead assured the people of Baroda that all parts of the state are equal for the government. The government is obliged to develop the Baroda area, like any other part of the state," Hooda remarked.
Hooda said the chief minister does not have any work to highlight in Baroda, even after ruling for six years.
"While everyone knows that electricity, water, employment, roads, schools, health, irrigation, agriculture and trade grew strongly in every area during the Congress government, the truth is that not only Baroda, the BJP government has no major work to show in the whole of Haryana.
"The state debt increased from Rs 60,000 crore to Rs 2 lakh crore during the BJP government in Haryana. Despite this, the BJP did not establish any major university, medical college, big institute, big industry, new railway line or metro line in its entire tenure," he claimed.
He asserted that all sections of the society are under distress during BJP rule.
The former chief minister said the people of the country and the state are troubled by '5 Cs' today.
"While the whole world is troubled by China and corona, the people of Haryana are being hit by the monsters of corruption, crime and casteism.
"Haryana, which used to be the top in development, investment, sports and employment during the Congress government, is now on the top in crime, corruption, unemployment and drug menace.
"Crime has acquired serious proportions as neither the common man nor the police is safe today. Murders have become common in Haryana, said Hooda, adding even policemen are not safe as two of them were murdered while patrolling their area in Gohana in Sonipat," he said.
He said considering the demand of the family members of the two slain policemen, the government should give them an ex gratia compensation of Rs 1 crore each and a government job.
Hooda said the problem is not only of the rising crime but the BJP government is also setting new records in corruption and scams in purchases of paddy, mining and liquor. There is no coordination within the government in the investigation of scams, which indicate a lack of will power to identify and punish the guilty.
"The investigation into the liquor scam was caught between the Special Investigation Team (SIT) and Special Enquiry Team (SET) and no action has been taken against real culprits," he said.
"Instead of investigating the scam, the government went all out to cover the truth," the Congress leader claimed.