Bhupinder Singh Hooda, the two times chief minister of Haryana and Gandhi family loyalist has attacked Congress party over opposition to abolition of Article 370. “(Article) 370 was removed and many of my colleagues opposed it. My party has lost its way a bit. It is not the old Congress any more. When it comes to issues of patriotism and self-respect, I will never compromise,” said Bhupinder Singh Hooda. The former Haryana Chief Minister has also started his election campaign and to the dismay of the Gandhi-Vadra family, none of the Gandhi family members featured on Hooda’s campaign posters.
The attack on the ideological position of Congress party suggests that Hooda might not be loyal to Gandhi family and party in future. In this scenario, Robert Vadra- the son in law of Sonia Gandhi will be the biggest loser. Hooda is the last defense of Robert Vadra in DLF land grab case.
Vadra and his company, Sky Light Hospitality Private Limited purchased a 3.5-acre plot in Shikohpur village near Manesar and later sold the plot to DLF at a monumentally high profit. Bhupinder Singh Hooda who was at the helm in Haryana that time too came under the midst of scrutiny for granting the license. Ashok Khemka, IAS officer emphasized the land deal scam with respect to mutation, irregular financial transactions and incorrect bank balance. However, his attempts were stonewalled by the Hooda Government to give a clean chit. Nevertheless, CAG noted in its reports tabled at the floor of the house which replicated Khemka and his findings in spirit and this caused the issue to not die down but remain in the news bytes.
Vadra and Hooda are main accused in the land grab case. In September 2018, a case of cheating, fraud, and forgery was registered against Vadra and Hooda under Prevention of Corruption Act. “The accused conspired with influential builders, ministers and top government officers, misused their positions and committed a scam worth Rs 5,000 crore,” said Surender Sharma who registered an FIR in the case.
The case is being investigated by CBI and the investigation agency has filed 80,000 pages long charge sheet in the court. In March 2018 ruling, the apex court slammed Hooda and termed the land deals as quid pro quo. “It was not a mere bonanza or a deal, but denoted quid pro quo,” said the bench of Justices AK Goel and Uday Lalit.
As Bhupinder Singh Hooda drifts away from the Congress Gandhi leadership, chances are he might throw Robert Vadra and the whole Gandhi lot under the bus for forcing corrupt land deals. With this he may also be looking to save his own political career by seeking relaxed charges against himself.
Hooda is a self-serving corrupt leader and the interest of the nation is the last thing on his mind. His stance on abolition of Article 370 is last attempt to save the political career of the family. Deepender Hooda, the only son of two-time chief minister also supported abolition of Article 370. The Hooda family faced major political setbacks in last 5 years and their ‘nationalist’ ideological positioning appears to be a mere gimmick to to save their political enterprise.
Robert Vadra may be used as a sacrificial lamb by Bhupinder Hooda to save his own political career. Hooda has kickstarted his election campaign with zeal to appeal to the nationalist sentiments of the people, defying the will of the Congress party, as he aims to return to power before investigative agencies latch on to him for the worse. The biggest loser in the whole episode will be Robert Vadra who is already facing investigations by the Enforcement Directorate in illegal London property case and links with fugitive arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari. The worries for Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law are sure to increase with these developments.