The Congress would ideally want the Haryana Janhit Congress (BL), floated by a breakaway group headed by former Chief Minister Bhajan Lal, to merge with it, but the latter has completely ruled out such a possibility.
The two parties are inching closer to formulating a “good working relationship” nonetheless to provide stability to the government. “There is no question of merger. It is just not possible,” HJC (BL) president and
Adampur MLA Kuldeep Bishnoi told Hindustan Times over phone on Sunday. He said the HJC was ready to be a part of the government to provide stability and avoid another election in the state.
The Congress, which has 40 MLAs in the 90-member State Assembly, has mustered the support of all seven independent MLAs. However, it is still placed precariously and HJC’s backing is crucial to provide solidity to the government. The party has six MLAs.
Kuldeep is learnt to have already held meetings with senior Congress leaders to discuss the arrangement. The two sides are scheduled to meet again on Monday.
When contacted, AICC General Secretary in charge of Haryana affairs Prithviraj Chavan confirmed that talks were on to bring the HJC on board to make the government more stable.
“They are old Congressmen and we would like them to return to the Congress fold. If it is not possible for some reason, there can be a good working relationship between the two parties. Our first priority was to elect the Leader of the Congress Legislature Party in the state,” he said after attending the ceremony in which Bhupinder Singh Hooda was sworn in as the Chief Minister for the second term.
While the Hooda group appears keen on breaking up the HJC and getting four of its MLAs to merge with the Congress, Chavan said that the Congress leadership was not considering this option.
Bhajan Lal and Kuldeep, who have been opposed to Hooda, had first given a “veto Hooda” call as a precondition for backing the Congress, but are not talking about it any longer.