Bypoll an opportunity to wrest Baroda: Dhankar


Region’s development most important issue in the by-election: Haryana BJP chief

Haryana BJP president Om Prakash Dhankar reckons that that Baroda bypoll is an “opportunity” for the ruling BJP-JJP coalition, but a “litmus test” for the Congress.

Speaking to The Hindu, Mr. Dhankar countered the Congress rhetoric that Baroda bypoll would be a referendum on the government’s work. He said the seat traditionally belonged to the Congress and the BJP had never won it.

“It is a litmus test for the Congress. It is to be seen whether they retain or lose it. For us, it is an opportunity like the Jind bypoll last year. And we are working hard to convert this opportunity into an achievement,” said Mr. Dhankar, who took over the reins of the party in July this year.

Development hurdles

He accused Mr. Hooda of doing “little” for the region’s development in his tenure as Chief Minister, claiming that his party had approved two colleges, a university and an Industrial Model Township for the Assembly segment pledging ₹200-300 crore over the past few months.

Mr. Dhankar said development was the most important issue in the by-election and the key to it was with the BJP in Haryana and Delhi for the next four years.

“The Congress did only lip service. The BJP will do the real service. People of the region are making up their mind for development,” he quipped.

Mr. Dhankar, a former Haryana Agriculture Minister, said the BJP had succeeded in convincing the farmers on the three legislations, adding that he didn’t think there was any resentment among the farming community in Haryana. “Now only those who are in habit of holding agitations are left on the ground protesting. And they are frustrated,” he said.

The 59-year-old leader accused the Congress of playing the politics of “hypothetical fears”, adding that people had now seen through its tactics.

Playing the politics

“They tried to create an atmosphere of fear by saying that crops will not be bought on Minimum Support Price and mandis cease to exist. But the crop is being bought on MSP and the mandis are running. Now they say the government will gradually stop procurement on MSP. Congress has this habit to play politics by showing fear of hypothetical situations. They did so [played politics] on Article 370 and triple talaq. But people have seen through it,” argued Mr. Dhankar.

On the guarantee for MSP, Mr. Dhankar said no one can control the entire market in a country and the demand was not “viable”. He, however, asserted that the government would continue to procure crops on MSP.

On the coalition partners failing to reach a Common Minimum Programme for the governance even a year after they came into power, Mr. Dhankar conceded that though nothing was available in “black and white”, the two parties had reached an agreement on 30-odd points and had a few differences.

“The coalition is running on the common and viable points of the manifestos of the two parties,” said Mr. Dhankar. He said that he aimed to expand the base of the party in the State and change the electoral pattern so that the party remained in power for long. “Though people in Haryana don’t usually repeat the government unlike Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, I hope to change it and make sure that the party get mandate for long,” said Mr. Dhankar.



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