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Bhajan Lal yet to decide future action

Lal had on Saturday sent his resignation saying that he was being ignored and humiliated within the Congress party.

india Updated: Jul 03, 2006 23:59 IST

After his resignation as state Congress president was accepted on Monday, former Haryana chief minister Bhajan Lal said that he would decide his next course of action within the next few days.

He had quit because he had problems with the party and not with the government of Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Bhajan Lal told reporters at his residence at Panchkula after Congress president Sonia Gandhi accepted his resignation.

Political sources said the veteran leader was likely to form a regional party in Haryana.

Lal had on Saturday sent his resignation saying that he was being ignored and humiliated within the Congress party.

His supporters were largely ignored in recent appointments of state Congress office bearers and executive members.

Lal has been disillusioned with the party leadership since the 2005 assembly election, when he led the Congress to a landslide victory. However, the national leadership refused to anoint him as the chief minister. Hooda, then an MP, was given the coveted job.

Sources in the Congress party claimed the 71 year old leader, who has sent his resignation letter without signing it, wanted Gandhi to invite him for a talk and offer a "compromise formula".

"The (party) president's decision to accept the resignation would be a major blow to him," a party leader, who does not want to be identified, told IANS in New Delhi.

Lal's son Kuldeep Bishnoi, who, according to his supporters, was supposed to get a top post after his father 'sacrificed' his claim for the chief minister's post, created a furore in the state when he went public against Hooda's decision to allot land for Reliance Industries Ltd to establish a special economic zone (SEZ) in the state.

Bishnoi, Congress MP from Bhiwani, had last month criticised the Rs.250 billion deal saying it was against the interests of the state and its farmers. Bishnoi had been served a show-cause notice by the Congress a fortnight ago over this.

Lal's elder son Chander Mohan is the deputy chief minister in the Hooda government.

Lal, whose frequent switching of parties led to the coinage of the phrase "Aya Ram, Gaya Ram" (metaphor for switching sides frequently), led all his Janata Party legislators to the Congress fold in 1980 after late Indira Gandhi came back to power as prime minister, overnight transforming the state government into one held by the Congress.

He also figured in an infamous bribery scandal of the 1990s in which MPs of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha were allegedly paid huge sums to vote in parliament for the government of then prime minister P.V. Narasimha Rao.

Lal first became chief minister in June 1979 and held office till July 1985. He was again chief minister from July 1991 to May 1996.