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Khattar targets Hooda on his home turf, Cong leader launches counter attack

twitter-logoPTI | April 29, 2019 | Updated 22:23 IST

Rohtak, Apr 29 (PTI) As campaigning peaks for the sixth phase of polling, Manohar Lal Khattar and Bhupinder Singh Hooda engaged in a war of words on Monday, with the Haryana chief minister asking his predecessor to stop "day dreaming" about helming the state again. Hooda responded by taking a veiled dig at Khattar's bachelor status. He said Khattar does not understand the respect that sons-in-law and other relations have in India's culture and society. All the 10 seats in Haryana will vote on May 12. Interacting with people in Rohtak, Khattar said the senior Congress leader is harbouring the ambition of becoming the chief minister again but he should stop day dreaming about it. He criticised Hooda for reportedly saying his victory from Sonipat Lok Sabha seat would pave the way for him to regain the chief minister's chair through Delhi. "Leave aside reaching Chandigarh, the former chief minister will not even get a chance to reach Delhi," Khattar said. Hooda, a sitting MLA from Garhi Sampla-Kiloi in Rohtak district, is the Congress candidate from Sonipat. His son Deepender Hooda is seeking re-election for the fourth term from Rohtak parliamentary seat, considered a stronghold of the Hooda family. Rohtak was the only constituency Congress won in 2014, beating a strong "Modi wave". After Haryana came into existence as a separate state in 1966, the BJP formed government in the state on its own for the first time in 2014. Since then it has stepped up its political activities in Rohtak, in a bid to weaken the hold of the Hoodas and the Congress party. Campaigning in Jind district, Hooda hit back at Khattar. "The chief minister does not understand the value of people and relationships and does not have any respect for them. I can only tell him to uphold the dignity of the office he holds,” he said. "I am a son-in-law here (Sonipat) but in other parts I am a son, elsewhere I am a brother-in-law, and in some places an uncle, as I am tied in relations across the state," Hooda said. He also attacked the BJP, saying "its nationalism is fake, aimed only at drawing political advantage from the sacrifice and valour of our armed forces”. Hooda said, “After the BJP came to power by making tall promises, they threw their manifesto in the dustbin and their government did nothing. This is why they have been forced to seek votes in the name of Modi”. On Sunday in Sonipat, Khattar had said Congress leaders were "avoiding" seeking votes in the name of their party president Rahul Gandhi for fear of losing. Besides, Khattar reportedly launched a personal attack on Hooda dubbing him a “bigdail Jamai (spoilt son-in-law)”. Hooda's wife Asha belongs to Sonipat, from where the former CM is fighting LS polls. On Monday, Khattar claimed the opposition has already admitted defeat “by reading the writing on the wall". "People have made up their mind for the 10 seats which will go to BJP." Referring to Rohtak and Sonipat Lok Sabha seats, Khattar said the time has come for the father-son duo to make an exit. "A strong Modi wave is there not only in Haryana but in the entire country," he claimed. Retorting back, Hooda threw a challenge to the chief minister: "Let Khattar resign as chief minister if his claim is proved wrong”. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is to address a rally in Rohtak on the last day of campaigning for the sixth phase on May 10. PTI SUN AD ABH ABH

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