Congress today faced searching questions on the role of former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda in the wake of the defeat of a candidate backed by the party in controversial circumstances in the Rajya Sabha elections.
“How you can condemn anyone on the basis of unsubstantiated political speculation?” was the refrain of party’s senior spokesperson Anand Sharma at the AICC briefing.
He faced a volley of questions on the role of Hooda in the polls including whether the former Chief Minister has “betrayed” the party with he and his supporters allegedly defying party directive in the polls.
“I speak on facts…”, Sharma said seeking to shift the blame on the BJP and the candidate backed by it, media baron Subhash Chandra.
Sharma was also asked whether the party is giving a clean chit to Hooda who was not happy over the party’s decision to back well-known lawyer R K Anand.
INLD, which had originally backed Anand, had alleged that Hooda and BJP were “responsible” for the 14 votes of party MLAs being declared invalid in Saturday’s Rajya Sabha election, leading to the victory of Chandra.
Insisting that it was the duty and the responsibility of the Election Commission to ensure free and fair polls, Sharma wanted FIR to be registered against BJP, Chandra and officials concerned. “What has happened is a criminal act and the CBI should investigate,” he said.
He claimed all Congress MLAs had marked their vote in presence of authorised representative of the party and AICC General Secretary B K Hariprasad.
He alleged that it is a criminal conspiracy as the ruling party at the Centre and in the state is “stealing” election whether it is Haryana or Jharkhand.
“Congress has its own mechanism to deal with such issues,” he said suggesting that a report from the PCC has been sought.
Earlier in the day, Congress approached the Election Commission to demand cancellation of the election to both Rajya Sabha seats from Haryana, alleging a conspiracy by BJP- RSS led to the defeat of a candidate backed by the party under controversial circumstances.
A delegation comprising Congress general secretary Hariprasad, party’s Haryana unit chief Ashok Tanwar and its legal cell secretary K C Mittal accused the Manohar Lal Khattar dispensation of “misusing” the government machinery to defeat Anand.
The Congress leaders and Anand, a well known lawyer, claimed there was “no internal sabotage” that caused the defeat.
The votes of 14 Congress MLAs were declared invalid leading to the loss of Anand who was otherwise expected to win.