Haryana Congress divided over support to INLD-backed lawyer

  • Aurangzeb Naqshbandi
  • Updated: Jun 04, 2016 07:49 IST

NEW DELHI: The contest on one of the two Rajya Sabha seats in Haryana has taken an interesting turn with the state Congress vertically divided over supporting lawyer RK Anand against media baron Subhash Chandra in the June 11 biennial elections.

While Union minister Choudhary Birender Singh is all set to get elected to the Upper House, all eyes are on the second election where Anand and Chandra are directly pitted against each other. The Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) with 19 legislators has already pledged its support to Anand while the BJP is backing Chandra. The lone Shiromani Akali Dal member may go with INLD’s decision.

In the 90-member assembly, the BJP’s strength is 47 and it also has the support of five Independents. The Congress has 17 legislators, including Kuldeep Bishnoi and his wife Renuka. A candidate needs the support of 31 legislators to get elected to Rajya Sabha.

One section in Haryana Congress is in favour of supporting Anand, arguing that the move will prevent any BJP-backed candidate getting elected to RS where the NDA is in a minority. “What happened in Bihar? All bitter rivals got together to fight BJP. Why can’t it happen in Haryana? In the end, it’s a fight between secularism and communalism,” said an officer bearer of the state Congress.

Sources said the central leadership is veering around the view that it is important to keep the BJP at bay and a formal communication in this regard will soon be sent to the Haryana Congress. However, another section wants the party to abstain from voting to maintain equidistance from Anand who is widely seen as an INLD candidate. This section has argued that the move will hurt the Congress on the ground ahead of the 2019 assembly elections.

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