Tribune News Service
New Delhi, October 20Late starter on the Haryana election scene, the Congress put up a brave face on poll eve, saying winds of change were palpable and the ruling BJP’s nationalistic pitch was not selling anymore.
“Haryana is geared for change,” Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee chief Kumari Selja told The Tribune. The Congress sought to downplay the electoral potential of issues like abrogation of Article 370 and National Register of Citizens in Haryana and said people of the state had “seen through” BJP’s designs.“Article 370 and the so-called nationalistic narrative is actually a political gimmick but people understand BJP’s motives. You cannot fool all the people all the time,” Selja remarked. Her optimism was shared by Deepender Hooda, former Rohtak MP and the son of Haryana CLP Leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda, who exuded confidence of victory in a tweet: “Save my tweet. Haryana is going to shatter the arrogance of Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar.”
Privately though many leaders are keeping fingers crossed with sections talking of how Congress president Sonia Gandhi did not campaign in the state, nor did AICC general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was the only one to campaign in the state among top party leaders.
“There has been a sense that the party did not go the whole hog in Haryana,” said a leader, adding that wining Haryana was critical to party’s electoral image.
But will the party make it with internal divisions flying thick and fast remains to be seen. There has also been intense speculation in Congress circles over the absence of Hooda at both the Rahul Gandhi rallies though Hooda has explained his absence.