Haryana Cong leaders pull strings in Delhi for tickets

Following severe infighting and with many prominent leaders,including ministers,entering the fray,the distribution of tickets in Haryana has become a Herculean task for the Congress.

Written by MUKESH BHARDWAJ | Chandigarh | Published:March 26, 2009 1:50 am

Following severe infighting and with many prominent leaders,including ministers,entering the fray,the distribution of tickets in Haryana has become a Herculean task for the Congress. The party headquarters is swarming with leaders who are camping in Delhi,pulling strings to get a ticket. Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda is also finding it tough to zero in on the claimants,as he is also under stiff pressure from all quarters.

State Congress president Phool Chand Mullana,too,is vying to contest from Ambala,though it seems a remote possibility,as present incumbent and Union Minister of State for Poverty Alleviation Selja is firmly footed in Delhi and is almost a clear choice from Ambala,with the blessing of 10 Janpath.

Interestingly,the Congress has nine MPs in the present House and there are hardly three or four constituencies where a change of candidate is expected. But,since the Chief Minister and state party chief are pitching for candidates of their choice,the high command is under

tremendous pressure in deciding the names.

A senior leader has conveyed to the high command that majority of the present MPs face a threat of defeat because of controversies involving them,besides anti-incumbency. Sirsa MP Atma Singh Gill seems set to lose his ticket because of a certain controversy and the party hardly has anyone to replace him,especially after delimitation,which had further turned the tide in favour of the Indian National Lok Dal in the constituency.

The Sirsa seat traditionally goes to INLD supremo Om Prakash Chautala. The INLD is deciding from among two of its MLAs — Sushil Indora and Sita Ram — from the constituency.

Another constituency where a decision is difficult is Bhiwani-Mahendergarh. State Minister for Forest Kiran Choudhry is making all efforts to get her daughter Shruti a party ticket from the constituency. But there is serious competition from Hooda’s close confidant and Chief Parliamentary Secretary Dharamvir and from her own brother-in-law,Ranbir Mahindra,who is pitching for his son from the constituency.

Newly-carved Gurgaon is another headache for the party high command as Union Minister of State for External Affairs Rao Inderjit Singh has staked claim from the constituency,but state Minister for Irrigation Captain Ajay Singh Yadav minces no words while saying that it is only he who can romp home from the constituency.

Karnal also poses a problem,with the party hesitating to give a ticket to Arvind Sharma. Hooda is keen to grant a ticket to his buddy Venod Sharma,but state Congress working president Kuldeep Sharma is also in the race as Karnal is considered a Brahmin seat.

All these leaders are camping in Delhi,trying to convince the high command that an early decision may help the party prepare better for the election.

Media coordinators resign

All the four media coordinators in the state,including Ashok Buwaniwala,Sanjay Arora,Jai Pal Singh Mann and Dilip Chawla ‘Bittu’,today resigned from their posts to uphold the model code of conduct enforced in the state. Acting on a complaint from the opposition Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) to the Election Commission that the media coordinators were using their vehicles and other facilities from the government in violation of the model code of conduct,the Haryana government had issued a letter to the two media advisors to the Chief Minister and four media coordinators in the state not to use their official vehicle in any way that violates the model code of conduct. Talking to ENS,Ashok Buwaniwala said he had resigned from his post,but it was yet to be accepted by the government.

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