HT analysis | Embattled Hooda positions himself as Haryana Congress chief | india-news | Hindustan Times
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HT analysis | Embattled Hooda positions himself as Haryana Congress chief

Among other contenders are incumbent president Ashok Tanwar and AICC spokesperson Randeep Surjewala

india Updated: Jul 07, 2017 09:27 IST
Hitender Rao
Former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda.
Former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda.(HT Photo)

With the elections to the post of Haryana Congress president coming up, several senior party leaders, including two-time chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, have begun positioning themselves for the top party post.

The state party unit is currently headed by former Sirsa MP Ashok Tanwar.

The farm debt waiver issue has given fodder to Congress leaders to catapult themselves in the reckoning for the post of state party chief. The resultant effect has been the appearance of several state party leaders at public forums in the past few weeks.

In a game of one-upmanship, all of them went solo in organising dharnas and rallies in various parts of the state.

While Tanwar held dharnas in Karnal, Hooda addressed ‘kisan panchayats’ in various parts of the state.

Randeep Singh Surjewala, Kaithal MLA and AICC in-charge of communications, too made his presence felt by staging farmers’ meetings to support their cause.

DIVISIONS IN PARTY EVIDENT

The manner in which state Congress leaders have been going on their own clearly indicates sharp divisions in the party. At the moment, the party looks divided in three camps – Hooda and his group of MLAs, Tanwar and Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Kiran Choudhry together and a faction led by Randeep Surjewala.

EX-CM UNDER ATTACK

Hooda has been put under immense pressure by the BJP regime in Haryana with a string of cases against him being investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). Under the circumstances, it is important for the former chief minister to keep himself afloat and in the game.

“Things have not gone his way. The former CM will surely push hard to get the post of the state Congress chief. Though he already enjoys the backing of majority MLAs, the state president tag will help him remain politically relevant within the party set up,’’ said a Congress insider.

For incumbent chief Tanwar and Kuldeep Bishnoi, son of former chief minister Bhajan Lal, their aspiration to emerge as non-Jat alternatives to Hooda will keep them in the fray.

Tanwar, who has family ties with the Maken family of Delhi, is a Dalit leader while Bishnoi, who had left Congress in the past to float his own Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC), has come back into the party fold sensing a leadership void among non-Jats.

Rajya Sabha MP Kumari Selja , a Dalit leader known to be close to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, is also likely to throw her hat in the ring.

Surjewala’s proximity to the Gandhi family and his stint in the AICC also makes him a strong contender for the top post.

The Congress, which lost power to the BJP in 2014 assembly elections, is desperately trying to regain the lost ground in the state. And a lot will depend on the new president who will have the arduous task of keeping the flock together.