Congress strives to quell dissidence as state polls near

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New Delhi, Oct 4 (IANS) With dissident voices increasing in the Congress ahead of the Assembly elections in Maharashtra and Haryana, the worried party has initiated steps to contain such trends.

The party has deputed two senior leaders to speak to former Haryana unit President Ashok Tanwar and former Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam, who have been openly attacking the affairs in the party, causing embarrassment to it.

Divisions in the party have come to the fore just ahead of the Assembly elections in the two states on October 21.

Nirupam, talking in the context of ticket distribution for the Assembly polls, alleged that sycophants in the party were targeting those close to former party chief Rahul Gandhi and contended that the Congress will have no future if such things continue.

Tanwar, on his part, has alleged that party tickets were sold in Haryana. He, along with hundreds of supporters, even staged a protest outside the residence of interim President Sonia Gandhi here a few days back.

While the Congress has asked them to exercise restraint, the party is trying to placate them behind the scenes.

A source said that a Congress General Secretary from Karnataka has been tasked to talk to Tanwar as he shares good relationship with the leader.

A former General Secretary is being roped in to pacify Nirupam, the source said, adding they are close to each other and have been working together.

On the record, Congress spokesperson Manish Tiwari on Friday advised these leaders to restrain themselves from speaking in public as their utterances could harm the party in the elections.

Tanwar is said to be unhappy as he could manage only two tickets for their supporters in Haryana while the major chunk of 60 seats went to the supporters of former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, said a source.

State party chief Kumari Selja, who replaced Tanwar, has also got a big share of around 15 seats.

Sources said even Congress media cell in-charge Randeep Surjewala could not manage tickets for his supporters and his recommendations were ignored.

Haryana has a 90-member Assembly.

In Maharashtra, where 288 Assembly seats are at stake, Nirupam has said the party did not accept his recommendation for even a single seat.

Joining the sulking Tanwar and Nirupam is Aditi Singh, Congress MLA from Rae Bareli in Uttar Pradesh as she defied the party line and attended the special session of Uttar Pradesh Assembly on Wednesday. Significantly, Rae Bareli Lok Sabha constituency is represented by Sonia Gandhi.

Singh, who also kept away from a padyatra led by party General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi in Lucknow on Wednesday, has issued show cause notice and given two days time to reply.

Contacted for comment, Singh told IANS that she is “not leaving the party”.

Asked whether anybody in the party had spoken to her on her defying the party line, she said “it is between me and my party”.

–IANS

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