Congress MLAs in Haryana loyal to Bhupinder Singh Hooda skipped a meeting called by the party’s state unit chief Ashok Tanwar raising speculation that there is a rift between the two leaders. Of the party’s 17 legislators, 11 MLAs, who had skipped the meeting, held a press conference here barely an hour after the meet called by Tanwar ended, while six others were not present in Chandigarh.
At the press conference, these legislators who have been pushing for Tanwar’s removal as the party’s state chief, came out openly in support of Hooda, who is facing the heat in Manesar land deal case being investigated by the CBI.
The Haryana Congress president had invited the party’s all office-bearers, MLAs, MPs and other leaders to discuss organisational elections the process of which is already on.
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The meeting was chaired by the party’s state returning officer Pradeep Jain Aditya.
While Hooda was said to be in Delhi, 11 MLAs, including Raghubir Kadian, Kuldeep Sharma, Geeta Bhukkal and Anand Singh Dangi, did not attend the meeting and instead opted to speak to reporters showing their solidarity with Hooda in Manesar land case.
Asked why no legislator turned up for the meeting today, Tanwar said, “We had send an invite to everyone.”
To a question if some legislators were deliberately defying him, the state Congress chief said, “Everything is in the knowledge of the party high command. I think, as the party high command has been apprised of the matter it will take appropriate action at an appropriate time.”
At the press conference by the 11 MLAs, Kuldeep Sharma minced no words in saying that the legislators had no faith in Tanwar’s leadership.
“We have apprised our national leadership about the party’s activities in the state. We have to bring a change (in party leadership at the state level) because just two years are left for the next Lok Sabha polls and we have to be ready,” Sharma said.
Recently, MLAs loyal to Hooda had stayed away from the Congress Legislative Party meeting called by its leader Kiran Choudhry before the budget session of the Haryana Assembly here.