HindustanTimes Thu,23 Oct 2014

Haryana polls: Rebel factor gives Cong the jitters

Aurangzeb Naqshbandi, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, July 29, 2014
First Published: 01:25 IST(29/7/2014) | Last Updated: 01:31 IST(29/7/2014)

Ahead of the upcoming assembly elections in Haryana, the rebel factor is worrying the Congress, which is desperately looking for a comeback after the drubbing in the Lok Sabha polls.

Congress sources did not rule out its senior leader Choudhary Birender Singh jumping the ship and joining the BJP.

Though Singh on his part has dismissed all such claims and maintained that he has been a dedicated Congressman for the past 42 years, a Haryana Congress leader said the Congress Working Committee (CWC) member has already met BJP president Amit Shah, Union home minister Rajnath Singh and senior party functionary Om Mathur.

“Choudhary Birender Singh is technically in the Congress but emotionally and sentimentally out of the party,” another state Congress leader said.

Singh could not be reached for his comments despite repeated calls.

But he has been upset with the Congress high command for its refusal to remove chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda before the assembly elections. Singh has even categorically stated that he will not fight the coming state polls under Hooda’s leadership.

Hooda’s woes have been further compounded by dissidence from another factor led by former Union minister Kumari Selja. She is up in arms against Hooda, accusing him of “biased” development of the state.

On Saturday, former Congress legislator Major Nirpendra Sangwan and another ex-MLA Sukhbir Parmaana joined the BJP.

Sangwan, who had won from Dadri constituency in 2004, blamed Hooda for his move. “The Haryana Congress has been converted into the Hooda Congress. He has ruined the state. There is rampant corruption,” he said after joining the BJP at Rohtak.

Sangwan praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his “vision to make India corruption free and a developed” country.

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