New Delhi: Unfazed by BJP gaining ground in Haryana, Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda on Saturday sought to pick holes in the saffron outfit's emergence and asked who is the party's chief ministerial candidate for the upcoming Assembly elections.
"Who is their chief ministerial candidate?" Hooda asked while talking to reporters at the AICC headquarters here, a day after the Congress Central Election Committee deliberated on the names of the party nominees for the polls and selected candidates for 20 seats.
The 10-year-old Hooda government faces anti-incumbency in the state and could secure only one of Haryana's 10 Lok Sabha seats in the last general election, that too in the chief minister's home district of Rohtak. He is also battling strong dissidence within the Congress state unit.
Hooda is keeping open the option of contesting from two seats from two different regions of the state. Asked about it, he did not rule out the possibility.
In addition to his sitting seat of Garhi Sampla-Kiloi in Rohtak, Hooda might contest either from Panipat Rural seat or Indri in Karnal district.
Replying to questions, Hooda said the main rival of Congress in the state was BJP and not INLD, which has got weakened after its chief Om Prakash Chautala and one of his sons, Ajay Chautala, were jailed following conviction in the teachers recruitment scam.
Several senior BJP leaders hail from the state. Ram Vilas Sharma is the state BJP chief while senior Union Minister Sushma Swaraj also hails from the state, though she has been elected to Lok Sabha from Madhya Pradesh.
Congress leader Chaudhary Birender Singh, a known Hooda detractor, has recently joined BJP, while former MP Avtar Singh Bhadana joined INLD. Rao Inderjit Singh, who had joined BJP before the Lok Sabha polls, is now a minister in the Narendra Modi government.