The factionalism in the Haryana Congress is visible over the issue of Satluj-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal with party president Ashok Tanwar and former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda having called separate meetings to decide the unit’s further course of action.
While Hooda announced that he would hold a meeting of all past and present MLAs, MPs and district Congress committee office bearers on November 15 in Chandigarh, Tanwar has called a meeting of office bearers of the party in Gurgaon on November 14.
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The relation between Hooda and Tanwar that remained contentious over the past few years took a nosedive after supporters of the two leaders clashed at New Delhi on October 6 while waiting to welcome party national vice-president Rahul Gandhi. Tanwar, who suffered injuries in the clash, pointed fingers at Hooda seeking action “against those responsible”.
The Congress constituted a committee headed by former union minister Sushil Kumar Shinde to look into the clash.
Talking to The Indian Express, Tanwar said, “I have called a meeting of all office bearers at Gurgaon and they have been informed about it. We will be holding a discussion on the course of action that needs to be taken on the SYL issue. Further, people are being harassed due to the recent decision of the central government on demonetisation. We will discuss how to help the people who are queuing up at banks and ATMs in large numbers.”
On whether he would be attending the meeting in Chandigarh on Tuesday he said, “Meetings of the party can be called by the PCC president only. Who are they to call a meeting? Even if I was called, I would never attend such a meeting.”
The Congress MLAs in the state who are considered close to Hooda have sought a change in leadership. During a meeting with Shinde, they had stated that they will not attend meetings called either by Tanwar or Congress Legislature Party leader Kiran Choudhry.
Hooda, meanwhile, said that he was unaware of any meeting called by Tanwar. “I do not know about any meeting on Monday. I have called a meeting of all leaders of the party. We will decide on what steps should be taken if Punjab government does not release water,” said Hooda, who had earlier said that the people of Haryana would stop power supply to Punjab and also the movement of vehicles.