July 2, 2021 4:53:12 am
As many as 19 Congress MLAs, all considered to be loyalists of former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, met state Congress in-charge Vivek Bansal in New Delhi on Thursday to seek “strong leadership” for the party in the state.
Sources in the party claim that a few of the delegation members even suggested a replacement in the state Congress leadership by stating, “If you want to come to power again, we need a strong leader here”.
Currently, former Rajya Sabha MP Kumari Selja is the state president of Congress.
Contacted by The Indian Express, Congress in-charge Vivek Bansal played down rumours of fresh groupism in the party and claimed that none of the MLAs raised the issue of replacing the state unit president.
“The discussions were regarding a roadmap for the local body elections, Zila Parishad elections and the organisational structure at the district level,” Bansal said.
Sources in the party said that the delegation members also raised the issue of non-formation of Congress’ district units for the past eight years.
After a meeting with Bansal, the Congress MLAs later reached the residence of Rajya Sabha MP, Deepender Singh Hooda, where Hooda had arranged a lunch for the party legislators. Sources said a few more Congress MLAs from the Hooda camp were supposed to be part of Thursday’s delegation, but could not join due to some reasons.
The Congress has 31 MLAs in the 90 member Haryana Assembly.
Congress MLA from Badli assembly constituency, Kuldeep Vats, who is also considered a close associate of Bhupinder Hooda, said, “Bhupinder Hooda is our leader. We can’t move without the blessings of our leader. Bhupinder Hooda is the leader of all the MLAs who came here today.
He has been Chief Minister for ten years. He is currently the leader of CLP.” When asked if they want a change in the party’s state leadership and if the name of Deepender Hooda was in contention for the post, Vats said, “See, Deepender Hooda ji a young leader. The issue of change in the leadership is to be looked into by the high command. We have conveyed our sentiments to the high command. Next week, we will meet KC Venugopal, then we will meet Sonia ji and Rahul Gandhi ji too.”
Vats said, “Today, we discussed how we can help and raise the issue of farmers who are protesting on the streets for the past several months. The [panchayat, civic body] elections, too, are approaching. We also discussed how we can strengthen the Congress under the leadership of Bhupinder Singh Hooda.”
The Congress legislator also said that the issue of appointment of district and block presidents is to be looked into by the party command.
A supporter of Kumari Selja, on the other hand, blamed the Hooda camp for halting the process for the appointment of district and block presidents.
“If these appointments are made, then what issue will be left to be raised by them?” he said.
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