With infighting in Haryana unit of the Congress reaching alarming proportions after the party’s drubbing in the Lok Sabha elections, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday stepped in to put the divided house in order ahead of the Assembly elections in the state.
Congress sources, however, said replacing Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, the main demand of his detractors, was not on the cards as it would only worsen the factional feud in the state unit. Congress leaders Kumari Selja and Chaudhary Birender Singh, who have been at loggerheads with Hooda for long, have been arguing that Hooda must resign taking moral responsibility for the debacle. The Congress won only one of the 10 Lok Sabha seats in the state in the the recent polls.
Rahul held nearly an hour-long meeting with Hooda, Selja and Singh at his residence. Congress general secretary in charge of Haryana, Shakeel Ahmed, was also present at the meeting. Sources said Hooda’s style of functioning, dubbed authoritarian by his detractors, came in for criticism. Rahul asked all the leaders to air their views within the party forum and directed Hooda to accommodate everyone and face the Assembly polls unitedly.
Another major bone of contention is the appointment of observers after the dissolution of the district, block and PCC executive committees. Hooda’s opponents claim all 21 observers are known loyalists of the CM.