Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda faces the daunting task of keeping the Congress flock together after the Lok Sabha election result on May 16.
The ruling party in Haryana —- which holds nine out of 10 Lok Sabha seats in the state —- lost one of its MPs and an MLA to the BJP, another MLA left the party while a senior leader joined the Kuldeep Bishnoi-led Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) to contest the election. The party is now projected to lose a considerable number of Lok Sabha seats and a number of leaders are busy formulating their post-poll strategy.
Former Union minister Venod Sharma, who was known for his proximity to Hooda, snapped his ties with the party and seemed set to join the BJP. He had to hold his horses because of a Sushma Swaraj tweet that blocked his way. Venod later tried entering HJC but that too was blocked by senior BJP leaders. However, Venod kept singing paeans of BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi and is likely to decide his next step after the result. He could form a new political outfit but not before re-attempting to join a mainstream party.
The BJP and HJC did not have enough leaders to field in their share of eight and two seats, respectively. So they depended heavily on unrest and dissidence in the Congress. The BJP poached Rao Inderjit Singh and Dharambir from the Congress to field from Gurgaon and Bhiwani-Mahendergarh. Former Chief Parliamentary Secretary in the Hooda government was taken in the party even as his candidature was also declared. Only three of the BJP nominees were from its cadre while four were from other parties and one Ashwani Chopra, editor and owner of Punjab Kesri, Delhi, an outsider.
Similarly, Bishnoi contested from Hisar because he did not have another name from this seat. Ironically, he is the chief ministerial candidate of the BJP-HC alliance and will have to contest the Assembly poll within the next five months. He could not look beyond his family and announced his elder brother Chander Mohan as the Karnal candidate before the BJP snatched back Karnal and imposed Sirsa reserved on him. This sudden development left Bishnoi in deep trouble, so he poached Congress’s Sushil Indora for Sirsa.
The Congress had taken five MLAs from the HJC after they defected to the party and support of seven Independents in the Assembly. But the politically hostile scenario for the Congress has compelled the MLAs to keep their options open.
One of the independents, Gopal Goyal Kanda has already announced a new political party and his brother has quit the Congress.
“We have to make a move in time as did Rao Inderjit, or there is always a problem as in case of Venod and Dharambir,” said an independent. Two other independents are in jail for their suspected role in a Karnal sarpanch’s death.