The Congress may have won the trust vote in the Haryana assembly but infighting seems to be holding up cabinet formation.
Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda faces a daunting task. His problem is that there are more claimants than the 13 ministerial berths in the 90-member assembly.
The single-day assembly session on Wednesday saw a spirited Opposition, led by Om Prakash Chautala’s Indian National Lok Dal, buoyed by an impressive increase in its seats, take on a divided Congress in the House.
Most Congress MLAs sat quietly when Hooda was attacked by the Opposition during the session. Only a few senior leaders such as Randeep Singh Surjewala and Raghuvir Singh Kadyan stood up to the onslaught.
Some of the defeated candidates are openly blaming senior Congress leaders in the state for their defeat. Former MLAs Somvir Singh and Shiv Shankar Bhardwaj have blamed former Minister and Tosham MLA Kiran Choudhary and her daughter Shruti Choudhary, MP, for their defeat in the Loharu and Bhiwani assembly constituencies, respectively.
The two MLAs have demanded action against the mother and daughter. “She should not be made a minister since she did not want the Congress to come to power,” said Singh.
Five other defeated Congress candidates, including the former President of the Board for Control of Cricket in India, Ranbir Singh Mahendra, had planned a press conference in Delhi on Thursday to provide evidence against Chaudhary, but cancelled it abruptly following Hooda’s intervention.
“We will hand over the evidence to the high command,” Mahendra said.
Mahendra, Singh and Chaudhary are all members of the late Bansi Lal’s family.
Chaudhary, however, denied the allegations. “I shall give an explanation to my leader and no one else. I am a loyal party soldier. I campaigned for the party candidate wherever I was invited. There is no question of working against anyone.”