Retaining 33 of the 40 legislators who won the 2009 polls and four MLAs who had switched sides from Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC), the Congress on Wednesday released the names of all 90 candidates for the coming assembly polls.
A highlight of the list was the 28 fresh faces, about one-third of the declared candidates.
However, where the party seems to have has erred is in its effort to tide over the strong anti-incumbency by fielding most of its sitting MLAs.
The party also gave tickets to six MLAs who were caught on tape allegedly seeking illegal gratification for grant of change of land use permission. They are Ram Kishen Fauji (Bawani Khera), Rao Narender Singh (Narnaul), Vinod Bhayana (Hansi), Jarnail Singh (Ratia), Ram Niwas Ghorela (Barwala) and Naresh Selwal (Uklana). The party also fielded son of former PCC chief Phool Chand Mullana, Varun, from Mullana assembly seat, son of cabinet minister HS Chatha, Manjeet, from Pehowa, son of late leader, Tejinder Pal Mann, Ranbir, from Kalayat and son of Badshahpur MLA, Rao Dharampal Singh, Virender, from Badshahpur. The Congress has put its money on Virender ‘Bulle’Shah, the brother of Panipat MLA Balbir Pal Shah, from the constituency this time. Eleven of the candidates are women.
RELYING ON OLD GUARD
A large number of tickets have been given on the recommendation of chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, while his cabinet colleagues Kiran Choudhary, Capt Ajay Singh Yadav and Randeep Surjewala also got small shares in ticket distribution. Kiran has managed to get tickets for her loyalists from Bhiwani and Nangal Chaudhary seats, while Amritkalan Tikania, a newcomer from Bawal is Capt Yadav’s choice. Surjewala managed to get a ticket for Ranbir ‘Bobby’ Mann, son of late Tejender Pal Mann from Kalayat. Karnal MLA Sumita Singh has been shifted to Assandh this time and a newcomer Surender Narwal has been fielded from Karnal.
Four HJC MLAs who switched sides to the Congress after the formation of the government in 2009, Satpal Sangwan, Rao Narender Singh, Dharam Singh Chokkar and Vinod Bhayana, too figure in the list, while the fifth MLA, Zile Ram Sharma, who has been chargesheeted in a murder case has not been accommodated.
BID TO CHECK REBELLION
Hooda and AICC functionaries seem to have played it safe by giving tickets to sitting MLAs despite opposition from state Congress chief Ashok Tanwar. The decision was aimed at thwarting rebellion and sabotage.
Congress sources, however, said giving tickets to 28 newcomers will prove to be an advantage to the party. The freshers are: Manvir Kaur Gill (Kalka), Himmat Singh Gill (Ambala City), Varun (Mullana), Bhupal Bhatti (Jagadhri), Pawan Garg (Thanesar), Manjit Chattha (Pehowa), Ranbir Mann (Kalayat), Ravi Mehla (Pundri), Gian Chand Sahota (Nilokheri), Surinder Singh Narwal (Karnal), Khushi Ram Jaglan (Panipat rural), Virender Shah (Panipat city), Dharamendra Dhull (Julana), Pramod Sehwag (Jind), Vidya Rani (Narwana), Sheesh Pal Keharwala (Kalanwali), Navin Kedia (Sirsa), Ramesh Bhadu (Ellenabad), Satender Singh (Adampur), Rajbir Sandhu (Narnaund), Ram Pratap Sharma (Bhiwani), Amritkala Tikania (Bawal), Sudhir Kumar Chaudhry ( Pataudi), Virender Singh (Badshahpur), Rohtas Singh Bedi (Sohna), Subhan Khan (Punhana), Gulshan Bagga (Faridabad NIT) and Lakhan Singla (Ballabhgarh).