Most of the about 50 Congress candidates who lost assembly elections in 2009 in Haryana minced no words in telling AICC general secretary and state incharge Shakeel Ahmed hereon Wednesday that groupism and late announcement of candidates were the main reasons behind their defeat.
Out of 90 assembly seats, the Congress had bagged 40 seats in 2009. About 44 of the total 50 candidates attended the meeting.
JP Singh, who lost from Adampur assembly seat by a margin of about 6,000 votes to HJC leader Kuldeep Bishnoi, said he named the party leaders who worked against him. Former minister Chhattar Pal Singh, who had lost to Vinod Bhayana of HJC from Hansi seat, said that he told Ahmed what had gone wrong and what should be done to avert a repetition.
Ramesh Gupta, who lost to INLD’s Ashok Arora from Thanesar in 2009, said he raised his grievances and named party leaders who worked against him.
Younger brother of INLD chief Om Prakash Chautala, Ranjit Singh, who lost to INLD’s Krishan Kamboj from Rania, also said he made it clear to AICC leader that it was Congress leader Jagdish Nehra (who recently joined BJP), who tirelessly worked against him. Singh had lost by a margin of about 3,600 votes.
Likewise, AC Chaudhary, who was defeated by independent candidate Shiv Charan Sharma from Faridabad seat, too, attributed his defeat to anti-party activities.
Later while interacting with newspersons, Ahmed, who was accompanied by Haryana co-incharge Asha Kumari and state party chief Ashok Tanwar, admitted that the candidates had brought to his knowledge the instances of “matbhed” (difference of opinions) among leaders in their respective segments.
He said that there were about 20 candidates who had lost by a margin of about 2,000 or less votes and about 10 others who had lost by a margin of about 1,000 or less votes. “I admit ‘bickering’ was one of the reasons and the party leadership is addressing it,” he replied to another question.
On being asked if all the sitting MLAs and those who had lost by meagre margins would be given ticket in the ensuing polls, he said: “A win by a meagre margin was not a very good win and a defeat by meagre margin too was not a very bad defeat. To put it simply, various aspects would be examined by the central election committee before finalising the tickets.”
EARLY DECLARATION OF CANDIDATES LIKELY
Ahmed said most of the leaders wanted early declaration of candidates and that he too backed the idea. “I, as the incharge of the party in Haryana, would ask the party leadership for it,” he said.