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Khattar takes jibe at Hooda over remarks on poll contest

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Chandigarh, Mar 31 (PTI) Former Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Sunday took a jibe at Congress leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda over his remarks that last time both he and his son Deepender lost the Lok Sabha polls as both had entered the poll arena.

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Khattar said Hooda's worry is that if he enters the contest this time too then his son will lose as he will not get the required support from him.

He expressed confidence of the BJP winning all the 10 Lok Sabha seats from the state this time too like in 2019.

When asked why he does not want to fight the Lok Sabha polls, Hooda had told reporters here on Friday that his son Deepender will be contesting and the party is deciding on his candidature from Rohtak.

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When the Congress leader was asked that in 2019 both he and Deepender had contested, Hooda had said in a lighter vein, "Pichhli baar lade they jabi toh haar gaye dono (last time both of us contested that is why we both lost)." Had he not fought last time, they would not have lost the Rohtak seat, Hooda had said.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Hooda had lost from Sonipat while Deepender had failed to retain his Rohtak seat.

Speaking to reporters after addressing the party workers in Karnal's Gharaunda on Sunday, Khattar took a jibe at the Congress' Haryana unit, saying their leaders are still gauging who will fight and who will not.

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Notably, several BJP leaders, including Khattar and Chief Minister Nayab Singh Saini, have claimed that big Congress leaders were running away from the contest.

Khattar then made a mention of Hooda's remarks and said that a statement had come from the Congress leader that last time both he and his son contested and that is why both lost and this time only one will contest.

From this, it is clear that father and son help each other as there is no party support to bank on. We oppose 'parivarvaad', but if they both contest and if the party is working actively behind and also when people's support is there then where is the problem in winning, Khattar said.

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But, he said, Hooda is worried that if he doesn't support his son then he will lose.

Khattar, meanwhile, in response to a question, slammed the opposition INDIA bloc's rally at Delhi's Ramlila Ground on Sunday.

He attacked the opposition grouping as its leaders gathered at the Ramlila Ground in a show of unity to galvanise people's support amid investigation agencies' action against several constituents of the INDIA bloc.

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About the gathering of the opposition leaders, Khattar said they feel they will get some sympathy and can send a message to the public, but they don't know that people know everything for what they are supporting each other.

Referring to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's arrest in a money laundering case related to the excise policy 'scam', Khattar while targeting the opposition bloc, said, "If they support a person deeply immersed in corruption who has gone to jail for wrongdoing then whatever is left of those who are supporting him they will lose that too".

When asked that Karnal MP Sanjay Bhatia's name is doing the rounds for replacing Nayab Singh Saini as Haryana BJP president after the latter became the chief minister, Khattar said this decision is to be taken by the party high command.

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When asked that some rivals are calling Khattar as "Super CM", he said such things are baseless and added he shares old relations with Saini.

Referring to the change in leadership with Saini replacing him, Khattar said that as dedicated soldiers of the party, we are ready to take up any work. We are here to serve the society, he added.

Polling for ten Lok Sabha seats in Haryana will take place on May 25 in the sixth of the seven-phase general elections.

The BJP recently replaced Khattar, 69, with OBC leader Saini, 54, as Haryana's chief minister in a swift switch in the state.

Saini will be contesting the Karnal assembly seat in the by-polls, days after his predecessor Khattar after resigning from the seat had said from now on the CM will take care of the segment.

Khattar is contesting the Lok Sabha polls from Karnal seat. PTI SUN AS AS

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