Crowd boos Hooda in Modi's presence

Crowd boos Hooda in Modi's presence

Crowd boos Hooda in Modi's presence

Two-time Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda faced embarrassment while sharing the dais with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday, with an unreceptive gathering booing him as he got up to speak at an official function in Kaithal in the state.

Hooda and Modi, along with Union Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari and Haryana Governor Kaptan Singh Solanki, were attending the foundation stone-laying ceremony of the four-lane 166-km Kaithal-Rajasthan border section of a National Highway.

The Rs 1,393-crore four-lane road project starts from Kaithal and ends at the Haryana-Rajasthan border. It will be completed in 30 months.

Just as Hooda got up to address the gathering, hundreds of people in the gathering—apparently BJP workers—stood up waving hands in protest and jeered at him. Hooda’s five-minute speech went unheard in the ensuing din. He finished amid sloganeering and hooting from the crowd.

An angry Hooda, who is facing stiff opposition from both within the Congress and the opposition parties ahead of Assembly elections, to be held shortly in Haryana, was quick to vent his emotions. He vowed not to share the dais with the prime minister ever again.

“I will not attend any such event in future . This was a government function and I was invited to it. But the BJP turned it into an event of its own.”

Modi, at one point, gestured at the protesters, urging them to calm down, but to little avail. As Hooda spoke, the Modi chant from the crowd grew louder—enough to keep everyone else silent. The BJP supporters, it appeared, outnumbered the Congress supporters.

The event was coordinated by the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways and the state government. The BJP ensured that its cadre  attended in full capacity, given that Modi was visiting Haryana for the first time after becoming prime minister.