Hooda weighs loyalists’ assent to decide move

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New Delhi, Sep 3 (IANS) A fortnight after senior Haryana Congress leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda put the party on notice at a mega rally in Rohtak, his loyalists authorised him, here on Tuesday, to decide the future course of action.

Hooda and his loyalists, which include 13 sitting Congress MLAs, some former MPs and MLAs and senior party leaders, part of the 30-member panel announced by Hooda at his August 18 Rohtak rally, came together at the former Chief Minister’s residence to finalise the future action.

According to party leaders, Hooda held one-on-one discussions with the committee members. According to a source, many leaders said Hooda should leave the Congress and float a new party.

However, after four hours of deliberations the committee members authorised him to decide the next move. However, Hooda did not disclose his decision to any party leaders present at the meeting.

The development comes three days after Hooda met Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi along with the party Haryana in-charge Ghulam Nabi Azad to discuss the issue of the state unit chief.

According to the party leaders, Hooda and his loyalists are demanding removal of state party chief Ashok Tanwar amid intensifying infighting.

While the Congress remains in disarray, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has launched its poll campaign.

Last month, Hooda at the Rohtak rally supported the Narendra Modi government’s move to abrogate Article 370 and also warned the party leadership. “Since the issue (whether to continue with the Congress) pertains to the future of the people, I can’t take the decision alone,” Hooda had said.

It was a clear signal to the central Congress leadership to hand over the party’s reins in the state to Hooda, or else he would go on his own ahead of the Assembly polls slated for later this year.

In 2014, the BJP improved its 2009 tally from 4 to 47, followed by the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) with 19 legislators and the Congress, which came third with 15 seats.

Two seats went to the Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC), and one each to the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP). Five Independents were also elected.

–IANS

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