Haryana Chief Minister ML Khattar on Monday said even an ordinary BJP worker is capable of defeating former CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda form Baroda assembly seat in Sonipat.
Mr Khattar made the remarks days after Hooda dared him to contest the next month’s Baroda assembly bypoll against him.
BJP and Congress are yet to declare their candidates for the Baroda assembly, where bypolls are to be held on November 3.
Baroda assembly seat fell vacant in April following the death of sitting Congress MLA Shri Krishan Hooda.
Mr Hooda, who is the Leader of the Opposition in Haryana assembly, had said if the Khattar government is confident of its performance, the chief minister should contest the by-election.
Mr Khattar said the Congress party did an “experiment” earlier too in Jind bypolls in January last year, but they had to eat humble pie.
“They experimented earlier when they had fielded a national level leader (Randeep Singh Surjewala). We are saying this time too they should do another experiment (in Baroda),” said Mr Khattar when asked to comment on Mr Hooda daring him to fight form Baroda.
Mr Khattar, however, dismissed the challenge, saying even an ordinary BJP worker is capable of defeating (Mr)Hooda from Baroda.
“If he decides to jump into fray, even an ordinary worker of our party is capable of defeating him,” Mr Khattar told reporters here on the sidelines of an event.
He said a new and ordinary worker of BJP Krishan Middha had inflicted defeat on Congress” senior leader Randeep Singh Surjewala from Jind, a seat which the saffron party had won for the first time.
Notably, the Jind bypoll in January last year was necessitated after the demise of Mr Middha’s father Hari Chand Middha, who was an INLD leader.
Shortly before the Jind byoll, Krishan Middha had joined the BJP.
“Like in Jind, our ordinary and new party worker defeated Surjewala, here too (in Baroda), an ordinary and local worker will defeat (Mr) Hooda if he contests from there,” said Mr Khattar.
Mr Hooda had recently said all sections of the society were fed up with the BJP-JJP dispensation. He had also said there was the anger of the farming community against the Centre’s three farm laws.
“This government has failed on all fronts. During the past six years, they neglected the constituency (Baroda) and now they talk of development, but people have seen their true face and will teach them a lesson in the bypoll,” Mr Hooda had said.
Baroda assembly seat falling in Jat-dominated Deswali belt of Rohtak-Sonipat region is considered Hoodas’ stronghold and the Congress had reaped rich electoral gains in the 2019 assembly polls from there.
“If the government is confident of its development work, CM Khattar should come in as the candidate in Baroda by-election. If (Mr) Khattar contests the by-election, I am ready to contest against him. Let the Baroda by-election decide if the people are satisfied with the development work and vote on the popularity of the government,” Mr Hooda, a two-time chief minister had told reporters earlier.