In an anti-climax, the Congress high command on Monday overturned at the eleventh hour its earlier decision to induct senior Congressman and Rajya Sabha MP Birender Singh in the union cabinet.
The 67-year-old veteran leader from Haryana was on Sunday dropped as party general secretary and divested of the responsibility of AICC in-charge for party affairs in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
Birender had told HT on Sunday that he had been sounded by the party high command for induction into the central council of ministers. However, his name finally did not figure in the list of those inducted. The party high command, though, has tried to placate the Jat leader by appointing him as a member of the Congress Working Committee (CWC), the apex decision-making body of the party.
While no one is sure as to what prompted the party high command to change its mind overnight, party insiders say that Birender's recent rhetoric against Bhupinder Singh Hooda-led Haryana government may have finally weighed heavy on the mind of the Congress decision-makers. "His induction into the union cabinet would have emboldened the anti-Hooda camp. Probably, the decision to induct him into the cabinet was reversed after Hooda backers in the high command impressed upon the central leadership," said a party insider.
Union minister and Ambala MP Kumari Selja, who has been the CM's most vocal critic over the issue of regional bias in terms of development and employment, spearheads the anti-Hooda camp in the state along with Birender and Gurgaon MP Rao Inderjit Singh.
Certain party sources, however, attribute Birender's non-inclusion to the induction of a Jat leader from Rajasthan, Sis Ram Ola. Rajasthan goes to the assembly polls by 2013-end.
"The party has certainly run down the senior leader. At whoever's behest this has been done, it would fuel more dissidence in the Haryana Congress," said a Congress functionary.