Haryana Congress president Ashok Tanwar on Wednesday reportedly offered to resign from his post after the party leadership overruled his opposition to the re-nomination of six sitting legislators, including a minister, facing allegations of corruption.
Health minister Rao Narender Singh and legislators Ram Kishan Fauji, Vinod Bhayana, Ram Niwas Ghorela, Naresh Kumar Selwal and Jarnail Singh are facing allegations of corruption after their names surfaced in the cash for change of land use (CLU) scam.
Congress sources said Tanwar, a former Youth Congress president and a close aide of Rahul Gandhi, had earlier in the day walked out of a party’s poll meeting in protest after he was told that the leadership had cleared their names for the October 15 assembly elections. He had consistently vetoed their names in all poll meetings.
A senior state leader told HT that Rahul Gandhi had also suggested that their names be dropped from the list. Their re-nomination could cost the party dearly as opposition parties would try to exploit the issue to their advantage in the elections. Citing the outcome of Lok Sabha elections, he said the Congress suffered its worst ever poll defeat mainly due to public perception.
However, chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda had been insisting on their re-nomination, arguing that no charges were yet framed against them. Congress sources said the leadership finally decided to go with Hooda’s choice, which was widely interpreted as a move to put the responsibility of winning the polls on the CM.
Later in the evening, the party released its list of all the 90 candidates which includes the names of these six legislators.
The main opposition, Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), had released video clips purportedly showing Congress leaders asking money for the CLU. Haryana Lokayukta, justice Pritam Pal, has reserved his order on the matter and is expected to deliver the verdict anytime soon.
Tanwar remained incommunicado and refused to answer phone calls even from his party colleagues. When contacted, Congress general secretary in-charge of Haryana, Shakeel Ahmed, feigned ignorance about Tanwar’s resignation. “I have no information about it. I am trying to contact him,” he said.