The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Saturday said that Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC) president Kuldeep Bishnoi had given a written undertaking not to induct businessman politician Venod Sharma.
Bishnoi had given this in writing to senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj, BJP state president Ram Bilas Sharma confirmed on telephone. Venod Sharma, confidant of Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, had quit the Congress on Wednesday.
Initially, the former minister was angling for a place in the BJP and then he agreed to contest on the HJC ticket, a plan thwarted by Swaraj's objecting to his entering the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). Now speculations about Venod Sharma's entering the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) are rife.
The BSP on Saturday announced parliamentary candidates from Rohtak, Hisar, Sirsa and five other seats but declared no one yet to fight from Karnal and Bhiwani-Mahendergarh.
At the Jan Chetna Mahayajna coming up at Kurukshetra, Venod Sharma may announce his next move. BSP state president Naresh Saran said the party high command might consider, if Sharma approached it. "As of now, he has not contacted the party. We are looking for a right candidate from Karnal and another seat," said Saran.
He denied that any negotiations were on with Sharma. BJP state president Ram Bilas Sharma, meanwhile, said that Sharma's conduct was contrary to the BJP's ideology, so he was unacceptable to the NDA.
"Venod Sharma had met the BJP leadership personally but because of his tainted image, the party had rejected his offer to join. Later, he somehow convinced Bishnoi and tried to join the HJC but timely intervention from Sushma Swaraj stopped the entry of an unwanted element in the alliance," said Ram Bilas Sharma.
The BJP leader said that besides Hisar represented by Bishnoi, the party had agreed in principle to leave Karnal seat to the HJC but Bishnoi's attempt to accommodate a "controversial Congress leader" and field him from Karnal had not gone well with the BJP national leadership.
"The central BJP leadership was scheduled to announce the Haryana candidates on Saturday but party's national president Rajnath Singh has announced it to be postponed. We expect the announcement on Sunday or Monday," said the state BJP president.