IN AN apparent reaction to the criminal case registered against former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda in New Delhi on charges of hatching a conspiracy of an assault on HPCC president Ashok Tanwar, several Congress MLAs in Haryana came out openly in support of Hooda on Monday. As many as 13 of the 17 party MLAs boycotted the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Kiran Chaudhary’s meeting ahead of the Assembly session that commenced on Monday.
Chaudhary had called a meeting of all the MLAs at the Congress office in Sector 9 on Monday to discuss the party’s strategy inside the House. But the 13, including Hooda, boycotted the meet and instead went to Hooda’s residence.
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Later in the day, 10 Congress MLAs, led by former speaker Kuldeep Sharma, addressed a press conference, expressing resentment against Chaudhary and Tanwar for getting a criminal case registered against Hooda in New Delhi. Several Congress MLAs hinted that in case the party high command did not remove Chaudhary and Tanwar from their posts, they would all resign. However, they were vague about resigning from the party or the Assembly.
The Congress MLAs also told The Indian Express that they would not attend any meeting called by Chaudhary or Tanwar
Kuldeep Sharma said, “The party high command should take note of the fact that the atmosphere of dialogue for planning a strategy has been completely vitiated by getting a false case registered against Bhupinder Singh Hooda. How do you expect us to sit with those who have engineered a false case and talk to them about planning a strategy?” Sharma added, “It was difficult to work with those [Ashok Tanwar] who have indulged in this kind of behaviour. We shall soon discuss this with the high command.”
After the clash between Hooda and Tanwar supporters in October, Congress MLAs had met former Union Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, who was entrusted with conducting an inquiry into the incident. The MLAs had conveyed that they would not attend any meeting called by Tanwar and Chaudhary and had sought their removal from their posts. Both Hooda and Tanwar camps had submitted evidence, including video recordings, to Shinde, who later gave a clean chit to Hooda.
Chaudhary, though, refused to comment. Tanwar said an informal meeting was scheduled in the morning to discuss strategy. “There is a system that needs to be followed. There was a need to hold a discussion within the party about how to raise the issues properly in the House. Several vital issues, including the scam in Gurgaon, SYL, Jat agitation, needed to be discussed. There was a need for better co-ordination in
About the MLAs seeking his resignation, Tanwar said he had no knowledge. Hooda, meanwhile, said the views expressed by the MLAs were their own.
MLA Geeta Bhukkal said, “We have held discussions with our general secretary in-charge. The Shinde Committee has given its report. Time and again we have conveyed that the party president and CLP leader should be removed from their posts. Still no action is being taken. That’s why we boycotted today’s CLP meeting. If our demands are not met, tendering our resignations is one of the steps we shall take.”