Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC) chief Kuldeep Bishnoi met Rahul Gandhi on Monday to discuss the merger plan of his party with the Congress.
The HJC was formed in 2007 after the Congress preferred Jat leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda to veteran Bhajan Lal as the Haryana chief minister in 2005. Lal, a non-Jat, had till then served the state thrice as its CM.
Bishnoi had tied up with the BJP in 2014 Lok Sabha elections but lost to Indian National Lok Dal’s Dushyant Chautala from Hisar.
However, the two parties snapped their ties a few months later over the seat-sharing issue ahead of the state elections. Since then, the Congress has been trying to woo Bishnoi and the merger process has now been set in motion after his meeting with Gandhi.
“Rahulji has given his complete blessings. We will formally announce our merger with Congress tomorrow,” the HJC chief said after the meeting in which Bishnoi’s wife Renuka and brother Chandra Mohan were also present.
The merger will help the Congress consolidate among non-Jats at a time when the state is divided on caste lines following the violent quota agitation.
Calling the proposed merger unconditional, Bishnoi said the two parties have come together to oust the BJP from Haryana.
For its part, the Congress maintained that the formalities are still being worked out. “Talks are going on,” party general secretary in-charge of Haryana affairs Shakeel Ahmed told HT.