Friday, November 22, 2019

Posted at: Jun 16, 2019, 6:07 AM; last updated: Jun 16, 2019, 6:07 AM (IST)

Congress in flux on leadership

Decision likely to hang fire till final call taken on Rahul’s continuation

Geetanjali Gayatri

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 15

The flux in the Haryana Congress continues as the two rival groups — headed by state Congress chief Ashok Tanwar and former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda — are at daggers drawn on the issue of leadership with Assembly elections just over three months away.

With decision-making in limbo and no plan of action in place with regard to Assembly elections, Congress workers are beginning to feel the heat as time is running out for them.

While they claim that the decision regarding the Haryana leadership is likely to hang fire till a final call is taken on Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s continuation, the indecisiveness is costing the party dear.

Sources have said while Tanwar, known for his proximity to the Congress president, has maintained that there is no question of him stepping down as the state Congress chief, the Hooda faction has been seeking his replacement for a long time now without much success.

According to information available, the top brass is exploring the possibility of a consensus candidate to lead the party in the state and is out tapping various options.

Though a change in leadership is likely to take place, if at all, once Rahul Gandhi’s continuation is decided, the top brass is learnt to have spoken to a couple of leaders.

The tussle remains between Tanwar, who is holding fort and is keen on retaining the reins, and the Hooda faction, which is pushing for his removal.

Leaders close to Hooda have suggested that the former Chief Minister is the party’s best bet in the state as elections will be fought on the Jat versus non-Jat card.

Leaders owing allegiance to the Hooda camp reason that since the BJP has managed to polarise the state and pocketed non-Jat votes, the Congress should woo Jats.

The INLD and its splinter group, the JJP, which traditionally have Jats as their vote bank, are at their lowest given the family feud.

Ever since the Lok Sabha elections, with the BJP winning all 10 seats, there is a slight shift in stance within the Hooda faction.

The sources have said there is growing talk of promoting Deepender Hooda to lead the party in the state. A few of them are apprehensive about this shift since Assembly elections are not far and experimentation may not work.

Though they admit that Deepender, the only Congress candidate to give a tough fight in the recent elections, is known to be connected closely to his voters and constituency, how he is able to get his act together in the short time available remains a big question.

As Congress workers adopt a wait-and-watch approach, the party seems to be lagging behind in comparison to the BJP, which has fanned out its leaders in the field.

BJP govt failed to curb drug menace: Ex-MLA

Hisar, June 15

Former MLA from Fatehabad and Congress leader Prahalad Singh Gillakhera today lashed out at the BJP government stating that the party rode to power on 154 pre-poll promises, but no leader of the ruling party wanted to talk about these promises now.

Addressing a workers’ meeting in Fatehabad town, Gillakhera said drug addiction had been on the rise among the youth in the district, but the BJP government had failed to take any step to curb this menace.

He said, “The results of the Lok Sabha polls will have no impact on the Assembly elections as they will be fought on local issues.” He added that the residents were being harassed on the pretext of levying development charges by the municipal authorities. — TNS


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