With state assembly elections approaching, Haryana Congress president Ashok Tanwar, on Tuesday, held a meeting with party workers to mobilise them for a rally to be held on August 24 at Panipat. Interestingly, the meet saw Tanwar, a supporter of chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, share the stage with supporters of Rajya Sabha member and former union minister Kumari Selja, known to be a harsh critic of Hooda.
Loyalists of Selja's camp such as councillor Bhawna Gupta and Raj Singh Chauhan from Kalka were present on the occasion.
Addressing the meet, Tanwar said the party would announce its candidates in the first week of September.
"These dates will be subject to the announcement of election dates and the implementation of the code of conduct," he said.
Clarifying that Navin Jindal had not sought a ticket to contest the assembly polls, Tanwar said that both locals and outsiders would be considered while granting tickets for assembly segments.
"Panchkula and Kalka assembly seats are closest to the Chandigarh which is a seat of power. Both seats are, therefore, prestigious," Tanwar said, revealing that 26–27 aspirants coveted the Panchkula seat.
He claimed that the party never had the tradition of projecting anybody as the chief ministerial candidate. When asked if he saw himself in the post, he replied evasively, saying his job was to ensure the party's victory.
Dismissing the allegations of "biased" development in the state as baseless, Tanwar said, "You tell me where there is no development. There are some areas which will benefit from its geographic location. Panchkula witnessed more development than Yamunanagar. The NCR gets more projects."
Referring to the BJP efforts to woo non-Jat voters, he said, "Congress supports all communities. We do not follow policy of dividing people." In a firm stand against those who have left the party, he said that they would not be taken back. "People would leave in future also but we must enroll new ones," he said.
Addressed the meet, Bhawna Gupta asked Tanwar to ensure tickets for locals. Om Prakash Devinagar, a leader from the Hooda camp, alleged that during the last assembly elections, 'outsiders' who were unfamiliar with the names of villages in Panchkula and Kalka assembly segment were given tickets to contest from these areas.
Panckhula mayor Upinder Kaur Wali and former municipal committee president Ravinder Rawal were among those present at the meet.