The united show at the Congress party workers’ session here on Saturday was short lived as on a minor provocation, supporters of former union minister and Rajya Sabha member Kumari Selja left the venue in between and raised “Bhupinder Singh Hooda murdabad” slogans in the presence of the Haryana chief minister and state party president Ashok Tanwar.
Supporters of former union minister and Rajya Sabha member Kumari Selja raising slogans against chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda in Panchkula on Saturday.
The session was called so that the party workers could air their grievances and the cadre could be mobilised for the upcoming assembly elections.
After singing paeans of praise for chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Ravinder Rawal, for mer president of the erstwhile Panchkula municipal council, who is from the Hooda camp, demanded that action should be taken against backstabbers who worked against the party in the Lok Sabha elections. Soon after that, Selja’s supporters stood up and started demanding action against Rawal and left the venue in anger.
As they were leaving, Raj Kumar Valmiki, who contested on the party ticket from Ambala parliamentary constituency, and was next in line to speak, said, “Inko to vaise bhi jana hi tha (They had to go, anyway).”
Enraged, Selja’s supporters raised “Bhupinder Singh Hooda murdabad” and “Kumari Selja zindabad” slogans outside the venue. Some of them even went up to the door of the auditorium and made sure that the chief minister and Tanwar could hear the slogan referring to Hooda.
Talking to mediapersons, councillor Bhawna Gupta said, “Rawal pointed out that we should be stabbed. In fact, he should be stabbed first… We are not here to listen to speeches. We are not even allowed to speak.” Another leader Pawan Mittal, whose daughter-in-law is a concillor, said, “In logon ne sirf-chamchon ko bulaya hai (They have only invited sycophants).”
The sloganeers included Lily Bawa, councillor; Pratap Chaudhary, member of All India Congress Committee; Mukesh Malhotra, former DCC chief; and Kuldeep Chitkara.
“There was so much of mismanagement. Sycophancy was at full display. No one from the audience was allowed to speak,” said Bawa.
About the open revolt, Ashok Tanwar, when his tur n came, said, “…some people do not understand that we have been reduced to Opposition (in the Lok Sabha). I was told that these people (Selja’s supporters) were holding responsible positions… Make sure that people who spoil the meeting should not be present.”
Hooda, on his turn, remarked that these people act like ‘nazar battus’ (object to ward off evil eye) for the good work done by the government. After the session, Tanwar said everyone was invited and as the sloganeering happened before them they would get it inquired. The chief minister said, “If these people do not want to support the party, the president must decide about them.”
Asked why no notice was issued to Kumari Selja as she had also been issuing statements but Sadhaura MLA Rajpal Bhukhri was asked to explain his conduct, Hooda said, “This is an internal matter of the party and I do not discuss these issues with the media.”