Rohtak: Former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda on Saturday shared dais with his long-time adversary Union Minister Birender Singh and appreciated NDA government's 'Beti Bachao Beti Padhao' campaign.
However, at the same time, the Congress leader called for a major initiative to "bail out the beleaguered farming community."
"On the lines of BBBP and other initiatives of the Centre for various sections, a 'Kisan Bachao Andolan' needs to be started as the farmers today are facing a number of problems including unremunerative prices," the two-time chief minister said.
Both the leaders shared stage on the occasion of farmer leader Sir Chhotu Ram's birth anniversary here.
Hooda, who was honoured with a 'pugri', appreciated the campaign 'Beti Bachao Beti Padhao', a nationwide initiative that seeks to check the declining sex ratio and empower the girl child.
Sir Chhotu Ram Memorial Society, of which Union Rural Development Minister Birender Singh is the chairman, had inivited Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, Hooda, state's Finance Minister Capt Abhimanyu, among others.
While Hooda attended the function, Khattar could not make it with Abhimanyu saying that bad weather had forced the Chief Minister to change his plan.
Hooda was seated next to Abhimanyu and Birender's wife Prem Lata.
Just before the Haryana Assembly polls in October last year, Birender had ended his over four-decade old ties with Congress to join BJP and it paid off as the saffron party stormed to power in the state and his wife Prem Lata also got elected as an MLA from Uchana Kalan segment.
Singh was also made a Union Minister in the Narendra Modi cabinet.
When Birender was in Congress, he was rarely seen sharing stage with Hooda and had even openly challenged his leadership stating that he will never contest elections from the Congress if Hooda was not changed as Chief Minister (before Oct 15, 2014 Assembly polls).
However, things looked different today, with Birender Singh and Hooda seen together on the dais.
Addressing the gathering, Birender said, "This is not a political platform."
He described his grandfather Sir Chhotu Ram as the "messiah" of the farmers. "The late farmer leader did not belong to any particular group rather he had championed the cause of the peasants and the down trodden," the Union minister said.
Singh said that during his own political career he had never tried to exploit Sir Chhotu Ram's name to gain political capital.
While pointing towards Hooda, the Union Minister also made some comments in lighter vein saying he used to teach him during his younger days.
Both Singh and Hooda, who are related to each other, were students of law during their youth period.
On the occasion, a number of Hooda's supporters who were present, raised slogans in his favour.