Haryana Assembly Election: Unhappy Congress workers make beeline to BJP
On Monday, Congress’ Pradip Zaildar joined the BJP at its headquarters in Rohtak, while sitting councillors Seema Pahuja and Madhu Batra joined the BJP on Tuesday evening, during a public meeting in the city.Updated: Oct 16, 2019 00:22 IST
At least three Congress functionaries in Gurgaon and Badshahpur constituencies have joined the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) this week, protesting the pattern of distributing party tickets and sidelining of ground-level workers for the 2019 assembly elections.
On Monday, Congress’ Pradip Zaildar joined the BJP at its headquarters in Rohtak, while sitting councillors Seema Pahuja and Madhu Batra joined the BJP on Tuesday evening, during a public meeting in the city. A week earlier, several Congress leaders, including the head of the women’s wing, had announced their resignation as disquiet spread in the ranks after the list of Congress candidates was announced.
Zaildar said that he had been working as a “loyal soldier” of the Congress since 1989. “Neither my work nor contribution to the party was considered by the state leadership and high command. I was a ticket aspirant from Badshahpur in 2009, 2014 and now, in 2019, but my claims were always rejected,” he said, adding that thousands of grassroots-level workers have been left dejected by the decisions of the party leadership.
Congress insiders, meanwhile, said that Zaildar was considered close to former state Congress chief Ashok Tanwar and his exit from the party meant that his supporters would be sidelined. After the recent reshuffle, the party in Haryana is currently headed by Kumari Selja, while former CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda is the legislative leader.
Seema Pahuja, who is a sitting MCG councillor, is also said to be unhappy after her demand for the ticket from Gurgaon constituency was not met. Pahuja, in fact, had rebelled and filed nomination to fight the election as an independent, but later withdrew her nomination.
“I have decided to leave Congress after serving it diligently for the last 12 years. I held the Congress flag high when there was no one to hold it, but in the end, there is no reward for ordinary workers such as me,” said Pahuja.
She also said that in 2014, she was an aspirant but her candidature was not considered. Even in 2019, the party did not give her ticket despite her being from the Punjabi community, she said.
Last month, immediately after the state level reshuffle and ousting of party chief Tanwar, senior Congress leaders and former senior deputy mayor of MCG, Yashpal Batra, had also resigned from the party and joined the BJP. “My wife, Madhu Batra, who is a sitting councillor, has joined the BJP, along with several others,” said Batra.
When asked about the steady exits from the party, Congress state spokesperson Ved Prakash Vidrohi said that loyalty to the party is not only about tickets and that the decision is taken by the high command. “These leaders were given important posts and respect, but the ruling BJP will only use them for some time. They can’t be forcibly stopped (quitting the party) and they will regret these decisions taken in frustration,” he said, adding that despite the exits, Congress is in the race to defeat the BJP by a large margin.