The Congress Legislature Party in Haryana Friday authorised AICC interim president Sonia Gandhi to pick its leader after the newly elected legislators failed to reach a consensus on electing a head.
The Congress, marred by factionalism and infighting, won 31 of the 90 seats in the Haryana Vidhan Sabha polls last month.
A meeting of the newly-elected MLAs to choose the CLP leader was called by the state party chief Kumari Selja at the party office in Chandigarh. AICC in-charge for Haryana Ghulam Nabi Azad and senior party leader Madhusudan Mistri also attended the meeting.
Sources present in the meeting said the MLAs proposed two names — former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and former CLP leader Kiran Choudhary — for the post. Ahead of the polls, Hooda had replaced Choudhary as the CLP leader.
While 24 MLAs backed Hooda, seven favoured Choudhary, triggering a tug of war between the two groups.
“It is obvious that Hooda needs to be the CLP leader. Not only due to his seniority and experience but also due to his efforts, which helped the party make a comeback in the state in these polls. Even after party’s debacle in Lok Sabha polls, it was Hooda who kept the party workers’ morale high. We got more than double the seats that we won in 2014 assembly polls”, one of the MLAs said.
In 2014 polls, Congress had won 15 seats. Later Haryana Janhit Congress that had two MLAs – Kuldeep Bishnoi and his wife Renuka Bishnoi – merged into the Congress taking its strength to 17.
This time, both Hooda and Choudhary retained their seats, Garhi-Sampla Kiloi and Tosham, respectively.
With no unanimity on CLP leader’s name, a resolution was passed leaving the decision on Gandhi to take the final call.
Once decided, the CLP leader will also act as Leader of Opposition in the Vidhan Sabha. The Congress legislators will sign a communication and send it to the Vidhan Sabha Speaker giving their party’s leader’s name who will be recognised by the Speaker as Leader of the Opposition.
For the past several months, Congress in Haryana had been suffering from a fierce infighting. After party’s poor performance in Lok Sabha polls May this year, party high command had replaced state unit chief Ashok Tanwar and handed over the reigns to Kumari Selja. Tanwar had later quit the party.
In the 90-member Vidhan Sabha, BJP has 40 MLAs, JJP 10 and both Indian National Lok Dal and Haryana Lokhit Party have one each, besides seven Independents. Besides JJP, seven Independents have supported BJP in forming the government.
Haryana Vidhan Sabha’s special session shall be held from November 4 till November 6, in which the newly elected shall be sworn-in as MLAs.