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Haryana Rajya Sabha cliffhanger: Bishnoi and Kiran, Hooda detractors who sealed Maken fate

The 65-year-old Congress MLA from Adampur, Kuldeep Bishnoi, did not vote for the Congress’s Rajya Sabha candidate Ajay Maken. He has been sulking with the party leadership for several weeks now for not being considered for the post of the Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee (HPCC) president.

Kuldeep Bishnoi (left) and Kiran Choudhry (right)

The Congress party’s candidate for the Rajya Sabha election from Haryana, Ajay Maken, failed to sail through despite his party having originally the required number of votes in the form of 31 MLAs. Maken lost at the hands of the media baron and BJP-JJP backed Independent candidate, Kartikeya Sharma, in a night-long cliffhanger on account of two Congress MLAs, Kuldeep Bishnoi and Kiran Choudhry. While Bishnoi, the MLA from Adampur, did not vote for the party’s candidate, Choudhry, the MLA from Tosham, sank Maken by “wrongly casting her ballot paper”, according to party sources.

Meanwhile, sources in the All India Congress Committee (AICC) said that the AICC in-charge of Haryana, Vivek Bansal, who was also Maken’s polling agent, has submitted a report to the Congress leadership, detailing the sequence of events. It is learnt that he has recommended action against Bishnoi, who cross voted. Bansal’s recommendation seeks Bishnoi’s removal from the party posts as well as his disqualification as an MLA on the ground of “anti-party activities”. The Congress could approach the Haryana Speaker in this regard. Bishnoi is a special invitee to the Congress Working Committee (CWC). Any action against him needs the approval of Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

Kuldeep Bishnoi

The 65-year-old Congress MLA from Adampur, Kuldeep Bishnoi, did not vote for the Congress’s Rajya Sabha candidate Ajay Maken. He has been sulking with the party leadership for several weeks now for not being considered for the post of the Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee (HPCC) president.

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Bishnoi is the son of former Haryana chief minister and veteran Congress leader, late Bhajan Lal. He has been a four-time MLA, elected in 1998, 2009, 2014 and 2019. He is also the president of the All Indian Bishnoi Mahasabha. Before joining the Congress, he had been the president of his political outfit

Haryana Janhit Congress (BL).

One of the most prominent non-Jat faces in Haryana, Bishnoi had been seeking a bigger role for himself in the state Congress politics dominated by Leader of the Opposition and ex-CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda. He has been sulking since the party leadership’s decision to appoint Hooda’s loyalist Uday Bhan

as the HPCC president one-and-a-half months ago. He had then announced that he and his supporters would not attend any Congress event till the top party leader Rahul Gandhi meets him to discuss his concerns. However, Gandhi did not give him an appointment for a meeting. He indulged in cross-voting in the Rajya Sabha poll Friday, sealing Maken’s fate.

Kiran Choudhry

The 67-year-old Congress MLA from Tosham, Kiran Choudhry, “wrongly” filled her ballot paper in the Upper House poll, which was rejected, leading to Maken’s defeat, Congress sources said.

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Choudhry is the daughter-in-law of ex-Haryana CM and Union minister, late Bansi Lal. A veteran Congress leader, she has been a member of the Delhi Assembly, from 1999 to 2004, and four-time member of the Haryana Assembly since 2005.

She belongs to a renowned political family. Her husband, late Surender Singh, had been a Haryana minister and an ex-MP. Their daughter Shruti Choudhary is also a former MP.

Kiran Choudhry had once created a record by getting elected as a member of the Haryana Assembly by a staggering number of votes. A former minister, she had also been Leader of the Opposition in the Haryana Assembly. She had been given the “Best MLA” award for her “outstanding legislative work” in the Delhi Assembly.

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Like Bishnoi, Choudhry is also known to be a Hooda critic, although she has not indulged in any dissidence against the party high command so far.

Her daughter Shruti was recently appointed as one of the four working presidents of the revamped HPCC.

Choudhry’s bid to “wrongly cast her ballot” in the Rajya Sabha election surprised her party colleagues, some of whom maintained that this could not be an “oversight” but a “deliberate move” by the veteran party leader and legislator.

First published on: 11-06-2022 at 12:50:15 pm
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