Barely days ahead of Haryana Assembly polls, rebels are giving a headache to both ruling BJP and main opposition Congress, with a few of them entering the contest as Independents.
Both parties had to face resentment from leaders denied party tickets.
With filing of nominations coming to a close on Friday, BJP’s sitting MLA from Rewari, Randhir Kapriwas, who was denied ticket, said he has entered the fray as an Independent.
From Gurgaon, sitting legislator of BJP Umesh Aggarwal fielded his wife Anita from the constituency as an Independent candidate.
Congress leader Ranjit Singh Chautala, son of late deputy prime minister Devi Lal, entered the fray from Rania as Independent after failing to secure a ticket. From Rania, Congress fielded Vineet Kamboj.
There are a few other seats too where leaders of the two parties may not have entered the contest but are expressing resentment against the candidates who have been allocated tickets.
Kapriwas was replaced by Sunil Musepur by the BJP.
When asked why he had entered the contest, Kapriwas said, “I have been a loyal worker of the BJP, always held the party’s flag high and raised issues concerning public. I never indulged in any anti-party activity, but don’t know why I have been made to pay the price”.
“When an outsider was fielded, my supporters told me that I should fight and enter the contest. I have filed my candidature as an Independent,” said Kapriwas.
Gurgaon MLA Umesh Aggarwal’s wife Anita Aggarwal has entered the fray from the constituency as an independent candidate. Aggarwal, who has not been on good terms with Chief Minister M L Khattar, was replaced by Sudhir Singla.
Aggarwal had on Thursday posted a sarcastic tweet.
“Look at the blade of this axe, some have been axed while some are ready to be chopped off,” he tweeted in Hindi.
Notably, out of 48 sitting MLAs, the BJP has denied tickets to 12 including ministers Rao Narbir Singh and Vipul Goel replacing them with fresh faces.
The saffron party accommodated several turncoats, mostly from the Indian National Lok Dal, who joined it ahead of the Lok Sabha polls and the upcoming Vidhan Sabha elections.
In the Congress camp, the infighting in the Haryana unit of the party reached the doorstep of party president Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday with former Pradesh Congress Committee chief Ashok Tanwar and his supporters protesting outside her 10 Janpath home in Delhi. They alleged corruption in the distribution of Haryana tickets.
On Saturday, Tanwar resigned from the primary membership of the party.
“Congress is going through existential crises, not because of its political opponents but because of serious internal contradiction,” he said in a four-page letter posted on Twitter and addressed to Gandhi.
Weeks before the polls, Tanwar was replaced by Kumari Selja as the party’s state unit chief and his bete noire Bhupinder Singh Hooda was made the Congress Legislature Party leader, after exerting pressure on the central leadership.
In spite of the Congress fielding his son Chiranjeev Rao from Rewari, former minister Ajay Singh Yadav is unhappy. In a tweet on Wednesday, he said about the Congress candidates list released in the assembly segments of Gurgaon Lok Sabha constituency, “majority of them are defectors, turncoats and non congressmen who openly opposed me in Lok Sabha election 2019”.
Ajay Yadav had unsuccessfully contested the Lok Sabha poll this year from Gurgaon.
BJP’s Guhla MLA Kulwant Ram Bazigar had said that the party should tell him why he has not been renominated.
The BJP won 47 seats in the 2014 assembly polls. After its win in the Jind bypoll earlier this year, the party’s strength rose to 48. It has set a target of 75 plus seats this time.
Congress, on the other hand, has 17 legislators in the outgoing House.
Apart from BJP and Congress, the other players in the contest include the Indian National Lok Dal, which entered into an alliance with the Shiromani Akali Dal, the Jannayak Janta Party, which came into existence after a split in the INLD, the Bahujan Samaj Party, the Aam Aadmi Party, the Swaraj India and the Loktantra Suraksha Party.