Almost a decade after its formation, Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC) Thursday formally merged with Congress, citing “communal forces” as their common enemy. HJC was formed in 2007 by a Congress breakaway faction led by former Haryana CM Bhajan Lal.
His son, Kuldeep Bishnoi, presided over the formal merger announcement Thursday at Parliament House complex in the presence of senior Congress leaders like general secretary in-charge of Haryana, Shakeel Ahmed, and former CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda. “Let bygones be bygones. We are here to merge with Congress to rid the country of communal forces and eradicate BJP from the political map of the country,” Bishnoi said.
Earlier in the day, Bishnoi met Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi at 10, Janpath and formally concluded the merger process. Talks for the merger, according to Bishnoi, had been on for the past eight months, during which he spoke to Rahul Gandhi several times.
Interestingly, Hooda was not present during the morning meeting at 10, Janpath, giving rise to speculation that old differences still persisted.
HJC was formed due to infighting that began after Congress picked Jat leader Hooda over veteran Bhajan Lal as Haryana CM in 2005. On Thursday, Bishnoi said the differences were now over. The former CM too was present for the formal announcement at Parliament House complex in the afternoon and voiced his “wholehearted support” for the merger.
Haryana Congress president Ashok Tanwar welcomed Bishnoi and other HJC leaders, saying that it indicated the “rising graph” of the party.
“I had never separated from Congress. Differences occur in a family. Congress is in our blood. The differences are now over …Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi are our only leaders. We will work for strengthening Congress. I will work as an ordinary worker of the party and I have not set any condition or come back out of greed for any post,” Bishnoi said after the merger.
While the coming together of both parties is expected to boost Congress’s support base among the non-Jats, Bishnoi asserted that he will work for all people of Haryana, including Jats and non-Jats.
Bishnoi had taken over reins of HJC after Bhajan Lal’s death on June 3, 2011. The party contested the 2014 Lok Sabha polls in alliance with BJP. But it fought the last Assembly polls alone and was reduced to just two seats — Bishnoi won from his father’s traditional Adampur seat, while his wife Renuka won from Hansi.
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