By Prashant Sood
New Delhi, Aug 22:
Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda has said that the jeering faced by him at an official function in Kaithal earlier this week in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi was “pre-planned”. He said he could have created a scene on the stage but did not do so as he respected the office of the prime minister.
Hooda implied that the jeering was done by Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers. “It was deliberate, pre-planned. It was not the general public but a gathering of ticket seekers,” Hooda told IANS in an interview at his Delhi residence.
Hooda was continuously booed throughout his brief speech Tuesday at the foundation stone laying function for a national highway connecting Haryana with Rajasthan. The function was also addressed by Modi.
The crowds shouted anti-Hooda and pro-Modi slogans during the event with cries of “Modi, Modi” rending the air even though it was an official function organised by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).
Hooda said the institution of prime minister does not belong to any political party.
“The institution of prime minister does not belong to a political party. It was a NHAI programme. I went at the invitation of the government of India. They (the BJP) politicised the function,” Hooda said.
“They (the BJP) can have their own rally,” he added.
Asked if the prime minister sought to restrain the crowd, Hooda said he did not look behind when he was speaking to see the prime minister’s reaction.
“I did not see it. I did not look behind.”
“I could have created a scene but I am a democrat and respect the institution of prime minister. Once a person is elected, he is prime minister of the country. I restrained myself, whatever my feelings. ”
Soon after the function, Hooda had threatened not to attend any programme of the prime minister or union ministers if the Haryana BJP leadership did not change its attitude.
Asked about his threat, Hooda said he had said that “If this attitude continues, he will not attend any official function.”
“It is a federal set-up. Single party cannot (possibly) have governments everywhere. We have to respect the institutions,” he said.
Hooda said that in their time Congress prime ministers also went to different states to address rallies and functions but such scenes were never witnessed.
Haryana will face assembly polls later this year.
The jeering faced by Hooda prompted Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan to skip a function attended by Modi in Nagpur Thursday. The issue has turned into a big political controversy with the Congress attacking Modi over the booing faced by opposition chief ministers in poll-bound states.
The same incident was repeated in Jharkhand Thursday with chief minister Hemant Soren being hooted in the presence of Modi.
Soren faced awkward moments as BJP activists raised slogans hailing Modi while he was speaking. He later complained and said Modi should take note of such happenings.