Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Monday nominated four-time MLA Kiran Choudhry as the Haryana Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader.
Haryana Congress affairs incharge Shakeel Ahmed told HT that he, along with party senior general secretary BK Hariprasad, held a meeting with the Haryana Congress MLAs here on November 3 to know their views on the issue and gave a one-line resolution to Sonia Gandhi authorising her to take the final call.
He said Choudhry was named the leader as she was a senior member of the party and has twice been a cabinet minister in the previous Congress government.
“She also held the political legacy of former chief minister Bansi Lal; besides, being a woman leader was an added advantage,” he said.
Asked if the deputy CLP leader or the chief whip had also been named, Ahmed said it would be done later.
Meanwhile, political observers said the appointment of Choudhry, who had been quite vocal and critical of the functioning of former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, reflected poorly on Hooda under whose leadership the assembly polls were fought and the party got a drubbing.
Choudhry is a Jat, though the party high command apparently ignored the names of former speaker Raghubir Kadian, and former parliamentary affairs minister Randeep Surjewala, who are Jat leaders and from the Hooda camp. It also ignored the names of former speaker Kuldeep Sharma and former minister Geeta Bhukkal from non-Jat leaders, who also belong to the Hooda camp.
It is also felt that the Congress high command did a balancing act by appointing Choudhry as the CLP leader as the HPCC already has Ashok Tanwar, a Dalit leader, as its president. Even in the recently assembly polls, most of the total 15 seats the Congress won were from the Jat belt.
Political heir to Bansi Lal
Choudhry, 58, was an MLA in Delhi, in 1998, and was thrice elected a legislator from Tosham in 2005, 2009 and 2014. She is a political heir to former chief minister late Bansi Lal, who founded Haryana Vikas Party and later merged it with the Congress. Choudhry, the widow of Lal’s son Surender Singh, contested the assembly poll from Tosham, while her estranged brother-in-law Ranbir Mahendra contested from Badhra.
Sombir Singh, son-in-law of Lal, eyed wresting the Loharu seat on a Congress ticket, while Sumitra Devi, another daughter of Bansi Lal, had thrown her hat in the ring from Loharu as an Independent. Except for Kiran Choudhry, all others lost.