Hooda duo to propel Cong prospects in Haryana

The entry of the father-son duo, former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Deepinder Hooda in Haryana is seen as a well-calibrated move by the Congress to take the challenge head-on on a sticky poll wicket.

The father-son are the Congress's best bet and have a proven electoral track record. Denials apart, 71-year-old Hooda initially appeared reluctant to contest the Lok Sabha elections as the assembly elections in Haryana are scheduled just a few months after the parliament polls.

Hooda is a four-time MP from Rohtak and has been a chief minister for two consecutive terms. His son, Deepinder Hooda, is a three-term sitting MP from Rohtak. The junior Hooda is the lone Congress MP in Haryana out of the 10 seats in the state. Ever since the BJP government took charge, Hooda has faced a slew of cases from the CBI and the state police. All cases are pending in the Courts.

Senior Hooda’s pick by the Congress party gives it an advantage in the perception war. This is akin to party’s similar poll strategy in 2014 when it fielded its best bet Amarinder Singh from the Amritsar Lok Sabha seat against union minister Arun Jaitley. The Congress strategy paid off in Punjab; it helped halt the winning chariot of the BJP that was riding high on Modi wave then.

In projecting Hooda from Sonipat Lok Sabha segment and retaining his son Deepinder Hooda from Rohtak, the party wants to galvanise the dominant Jat votes in the two neighbouring Lok Sabha constituencies and adjoining segments. Though the BJP has an edge now, the Congress party hopes to gain by jutting the father-son duo.

Some quarters in the Congress may see this as Hooda’s exit from state politics. However, Hooda's role in the assembly elections is unclear. Hooda has the option to resign from the Lok Sabha seat ahead of the assembly elections in case he wins it.

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