Free Press Journal

Former Congress leader Venod Sharma praises Modi


Kurukshetra (Haryana): Former union minister and sitting legislator Venod Sharma Sunday sought to highlight the wrongs that allegedly plagued the Congress party, and showered praise on BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.

The legislator from Ambala city assembly constituency said he was feeling liberated from the suffocating atmosphere in the Congress after taking the decision to part ways with the party with which he was associated for 40 years.

Extending his “full support” to Modi, Sharma told a rally here: “I will support forces that make Modiji prime minister.”

Thousands of people attended the Jan Chetna Mayayagya rally, which marked the culmination of Sharma’s 101-day tour of Haryana. He had started his tour Nov 19.

Taking potshots at the Congress, Sharma asked: “Can the Congress make a chai-wala (tea-vendor) prime minister?”

He chided his colleagues in the Congress for ridiculing Modi’s humble origins.

Sharma, a millionaire businessman and father of Jessica Lal’s killer Manu Sharma, was a close confidant of Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda since March 2005.

He enjoyed absolute power in Haryana’s political circles in the last decade owing to his proximity to Hooda.

A former power and excise and taxation minister in the Hooda government, Sharma said his decision to quit the Congress was a tough one.

“I had to take this emotional and tough decision after remaining in the Congress for 40 years. Let us also breathe and live,” he said.

Blaming the Hooda government for ignoring north Haryana in matters of development, he said top Congress leaders like former union minister Kumari Selja, Birender Singh, Phool Chand Mullana and others were afraid to contest the Lok Sabha elections.