The factional feud in the Haryana unit of Congress took a new turn on Tuesday, with two MLAs considered close to former CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda making public their displeasure with the party high command for not accepting their demand to replace state Congress chief Ashok Tanwar. The MLAs said the high command is not “listening to us” and argued that nobody wants to contest the elections under the current leadership.
The remarks of the Congress MLAs — former Assembly Speaker Kuldeep Sharma and Karan Dalal — come in the wake of speculation regarding Hooda’s chance encounter with PM Narendra Modi in Parliament and Congress Haryana MLA Jai Tirath Dahiya’s statement that the Hooda-Modi meeting has a political meaning and can give birth to a new political equation.
Hooda has already played down the chance meeting with Modi, saying there is no political angle to it. According to those close to Hooda, the PM walked up to him when he spotted him in the central hall on the last day of Parliament’s Monsoon Session. Sharma said, “Hooda has been a cm for 10 years, MP four times and state Congress president twice. The PM understands the weight of Hooda and walked up to him,” he said, adding that Hooda is not going to join the BJP as his family has been in Congress for generations. He would never think of joining a party like BJP which is “communal” and is “trampling democracy”, he added.
Asked what has been Congress high command’s response to their demands, Sharma said, “Don’t ask me about the Congress high command. The way Haryana Congress is being run…Congress will not gain strength. The people of Haryana today want to get rid of the BJP government and see the Congress back in power. But for that, the Congress leadership, be it at the state level or the national level, should think deeply as to what kind of leadership Haryana Congress requires.”
Dalal did not mince words. “We have been explaining each and every thing to them. They are not listening,” he said. Asked whether they would fight the next elections under the current leadership, he said “Not only us, nobody in Haryana is going to contest the coming elections under such leadership….” Sharma, however, said “we want to die as Congressmen” and added that a “surgery is required” in Haryana Congress, but “where the surgery is required is to be decided by the national leadership”.