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Hooda-led Panel Authorises Ex-Haryana CM to Lead Congress in State Polls, Awaits Central Leadership's Nod

This was the first meeting of the panel that was constituted by Bhupinder Singh Hooda on August 18 at a rally in Rohtak. The panel consists of 16 sitting MLAs and 13 ex-MLAs of the Congress, all Hooda loyalists.

Zeba Warsi | CNN-News18

Updated:September 3, 2019, 7:23 PM IST
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Hooda-led Panel Authorises Ex-Haryana CM to Lead Congress in State Polls, Awaits Central Leadership's Nod
File photo of senior Congress leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda.
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New Delhi: With less than two months to go for the Haryana Assembly elections, the Congress struggles to keep its house in order. A 35-member committee formed by senior party leader and former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda met on Tuesday and passed a resolution authorising Hooda to take a decision on the future of the state leadership.

This was the first meeting of the committee that was constituted by Hooda on August 18 at a rally in Rohtak. The panel consists of 16 sitting MLAs and 13 ex-MLAs of the Congress, all Hooda loyalists.

"We passed a resolution authorising Bhupinder Singh Hooda to take a decision for the Haryana Congress. He alone can lead the party to victory in the upcoming elections,” said ex-state minister and Haryana Congress spokesperson Krishna Murti.

The meeting took place in the wake of speculations that the disgruntled Congress veteran may float a new political party if the party high command doesn’t consider him for the top job. Hooda loyalists are batting for him to be made the party’s chief ministerial face ahead of the elections slated to be held in October.

Another long-standing demand of the Hooda camp has been to replace the present Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee chief Ashok Tanwar. The leaders met at Hooda's residence in the national capital and discussed the future course of action. Bhupinder Singh Hooda also met leaders individually to gauge their suggestions and is likely to make his decision known to the central leadership soon.

While most leaders maintained that floating a new political outfit was not discussed, some hinted at keeping all options open. "We want Hooda sir to decide. After that, it's up to the Congress high command to go by his decision. If they don't agree, then we will have to see what we'll do. In the next few days, it will be clear," said a leader on the condition of anonymity. "We have never said that we want to replace someone. We want Hooda to lead us in the elections as the party’s face. I hope the high command listens to us," said Murti.

The Congress leadership has maintained a measured silence on the issue. Last week, Hooda met interim Congress president Sonia Gandhi at her residence. Congress general secretary in-charge of Haryana Ghulam Nabi Azad was also part of the meeting. However, nothing came out of it. With Tuesday's meeting, Hooda hoped to send out a message to the central leadership.

The 35-member committee has done its job of choosing Hooda as its leader. The biggest concern for all, however, now is that time is running out. "The organisational structure is in complete disarray. We don’t have any organisation left — district, zonal or state. It's an emergency situation. Decision must be taken now if the party hopes to have any chance at winning the October elections," said former finance minister of the state Sampat Singh.

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| Edited by: Sohini Goswami
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