The Congress Friday decided to vote for Independent candidate R K Anand in the Rajya Sabha elections in Haryana even though all party MLAs from the state opposed the move to support a candidate backed by arch-rival INLD.
The Congress high command overruled the objections and dramatically got Anand to show up at a meeting of Haryana Congress MLAs at the AICC headquarters here. The party got Anand to pledge his faith in the Congress and vow to back it in Rajya Sabha.
While the MLAs contend that the decision will give ammo to the BJP to call Congress a B-team of the INLD, and also revive the moribund party, central leaders argued that with only 17 MLAs, the Congress could not have won a Rajya Sabha seat from Haryana. But with this move, the party, they contend, has managed to secure the support of an MP in the numerically crucial Upper House.
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Stating that abstaining would have resulted in the BJP nominee’s victory, a senior leader said, “In fact, we have gained. He (Anand) has become a Congress candidate now.”
At the meeting, Haryana MLAs reportedly told AICC general secretary B K Hariprasad that they do not want to support either Subhash Chandra, the Independent candidate backed by BJP, or Anand. Hariprasad, however, said party president Sonia Gandhi wants the Congress to support Anand to ensure the BJP nominee’s defeat.
Anand later told the media, “I will support Congress on floor of the House.” Haryana CLP leader Kiran Choudhary said it has been decided that the party will support Anand because he has “expressed full faith in Congress’s policies and its leadership”.