New Delhi, Aug 20 (PTI): Joining the exodus from ruling Congress in poll-bound Haryana, former MP Avtar Singh Bhadana today quit the party for Indian National Lok Dal and attacked Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and the central leadership.
The four-time MP, who wields influence in the Gujjar community, said Congress President Sonia Gandhi failed to take action against the Haryana Chief Minister despite being given “all kinds of proofs”.
“We had given everything in writing to Sonia Gandhi, and she agreed to what we said. But I really don’t understand as to why Soniaji has not take action against him,” Bhadana told reporters here.
He alleged that Hooda was “blackmailing” the Congress president and raised the issue of controversial land dealings of her son-in-law Robert Vadra.
He said that Hooda created a situation which led to many leaders quitting the party.
“There is no respect for senior leaders like us. Hooda created a situation for everyone. We all put forth our problems before Soniaji. (Rao) Inderjit (Singh), Birendra Singh left the party.
“Hooda wielded influence on those who are close to Rahul and Soniaji. We thought the party would take care of this, but they decided not to take any action against the Chief Minister,” Bhadana said.
He alleged that Hooda was behind the clashes in the Sikh community over the HSPGC issue, riots in Mewat and indulged in Jat and non-Jat politics.
“It’s not the same Congress in which I worked for so long. Hooda has broken all records. I have submitted a letter against Hooda and his ministers to (Narendra) Modi.”
“Hooda fought the Lok Sabha election with BJP and will contest assembly election together. The fight for the assembly election will be between INLD and BJP,” he said.
Many senior state leaders have quit Congress to join the BJP and INLD ahead of assembly election while attacking Hooda’s style of functioning.
Asked whether he would contest election on the party ticket, Bhadana said, “(being) MLA, Minister does not matter to me. I have to again regain my identity and I will again go before the people. People will again help me reach my position.”
Bhadana lost to Union Minister Krishna Pal Gurjar by over 4,66,873 votes in the recent Lok Sabha polls. He said that joining the INLD was like home-coming for him.
Abhay Chautala, son of INLD supremo, who was also at the press conference, took a jibe at Sonia Gandhi, saying she was “helpless” against Hooda as “Vadra was under his control”.