The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its ally Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC) have failed to reach a consensus on allotting two parliamentary seats to the Kuldeep Bishnoi's party in Haryana.
At a closed-door meeting that lasted almost an hour at a hotel here on Monday, the coordination committee of the alliance empowered a sub-committee to see the winnability of candidates for all 10 seats of Lok Sabha and 90 of Vidhan Sabha. BJP state president Ram Bilas Sharma and HJC chief Bishnoi will be among the three members from each side in the sub-committee.
Both parties have an in principle agreement that the BJP and the HJC would contest on 45 assembly segments each. The central BJP leadership had announced in the past that if voted to power in the state, the alliance would name Bishnoi as the chief minister.
For the Lok Sabha, the BJP will contest on eight seats and the HJC on two. But who will contest from which seat is the bone of contention.
Sources said the HJC is keen, or rather firm, on contesting from the Hisar parliamentary seat, represented by Bishnoi. Hisar is a traditional seat of his late father and former chief minister Bhajan Lal.
For the second Lok Sabha seat, Bishnoi wants to field his brother and former deputy chief minister Chander Mohan from Karnal, sources in the BJP-HJC alliance said. Karnal has a considerable number of non-Jat voters and Bhajan Lal had represented the segment in 1998. Bishnoi considers Karnal to be as an easy seat, sources said.
The BJP leadership, however, is adamant that the HJC should either contest from Bhiwani-Mahendergarh or Sirsa. Before the delimitation, Bishnoi had represented the Bhiwani parliamentary segment from 2004 to 2009 as a Congress candidate.
After the meeting, Sharma and Bishnoi said the sub-committee would deliberate on the seat-sharing formula. No timeframe had been fixed to draw conclusions, they said.
"The BJP-HJC alliance is strong. News reports of the BJP teaming up with the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) are unfounded. We will soon finalise the seat-sharing formula and emerge as the best political alternative in the state," Sharma said.
Projecting BJP to be tough on corruption, he said the party had removed its senior leader BS Yeddyurappa from the chief ministership of Karnataka in the wake of corruption charge against him. "The party is committed to fight corruption," he said.
Bishnoi said the INLD had emerged as a party of corrupt leaders because its two top leaders, Om Prakash Chautala and his son Ajay Chautala, were convicted in a corruption case. "There is no space for the INLD in our alliance because of its leaders are neck deep in corruption," he said, adding that Gurgaon parliamentarian Rao Inderjit Singh was welcomed to join the BJP-HJC alliance.