Chandigarh: Things do not seem to be going right for former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda. He is facing a number of CBI cases and suffered political setback due to Jat quota violence. To add to his problems, the controversy over 12 invalid votes in Rajya Sabha polls which led to the defeat of Congress-backed RK Anand and win of BJP supported media baron Subhash Chandra could not have come at a worse time.
While it cannot be established as to whose ballots were declared invalid, the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) which is the principal opposition group in assembly has accused a Congress faction led by Hooda as playing the spoilsport. INLD leader Abhay Singh Chautala on Sunday accused Hooda of colluding with the ruling BJP to ensure Chandra’s win. Hooda on the other hand vehemently denied the allegation and termed the episode a conspiracy hatched by the INLD and the BJP.
Party’s observer for Rajya Sabha poll, BK Hariprasad, said that Congress MLAs voted for Anand as per the directions of the Congress president. “It was difficult for me as a polling agent to determine whether the ink used for marking preference was that of the election commission’s official pen or not. I don’t think there was any foul play on the part of our MLAs.”
State Congress chief Ashok Tanwar who along with Hariparsad and Anand met the election commission officials on Monday too said that Congress MLAs were not at fault. “It is a fraud committed by the ruling BJP. The EC has heard us and I am sure they will take cognizance of our complaint,’’ he said.
The Congress having 17 MLAs had on Friday declared support for Anand after party president, Sonia Gandhi issued directions in this regard. The Congress central leadership wanted the BJP backed candidate, Subhash Chandra to lose, hence lent its support to Anand, an independent supported by the INLD. With 18 INLD votes, Anand would have made it with the Congress backing. Congress MLA Karan Dalal said there is no denying the fact that many party MLAs were against voting for Anand. But everyone fell in line once the Congress high command issued a directive.
Impact on Hooda
Though the Congress high command is learnt to be displeased at the manner in which their RS poll strategy has been foiled, by design or accident, it remains to be seen whether any action is initiated against Congress MLAs. “Till it is proved that Congress MLAs did it deliberately, no action will be initiated against Hooda,’’ said a party insider. However, whether the Congress high command, smarting from party’s debacle in recent assembly elections, would get convinced and swallow the conspiracy theory is a question waiting to be answered.