Haryana Headache for Congress? As Hoodas Tighten Grip, Question Mark on ‘Irrelevant’ Working Presidents

After Punjab and Rajasthan, Haryana seems to be the latest headache for the Congress as rampant infighting threatens to derail the chances of the Grand Old Party which has seen several desertions and a dipping success rate over the past few months.

Amid reports that there were murmurs of dissent after Kumari Selja’s exit and the appointment of Bhupinder Singh Hooda loyalist Udai Bhan as the new president of its state unit, former minister Kiran Choudhry on Saturday questioned the omission of party presidents from a poster featuring Deepender Singh Hooda.

As Deepender Hooda shared a poster of an event titled ‘Vipaksh Aapke Samaksh’ featuring photos of senior Hooda and the leadership such as Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Choudhry was quick to ask: “Are working presidents of PCC irrelevant Deepender ji?”

The development comes amid cracks in the Haryana unit, especially since senior Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala threw his weight behind party colleague Kuldeep Bishnoi, who was admittedly ‘very angry’ on not being given any position in the revamped Haryana Congress. Calling Bishnoi ‘the best state unit president’, Surjewala said Bishnoi was a “very able, talented, and a civilised person and leader”.

However, when questioned about his stand, which was opposed to that of the top brass, Surjewala said it was his “personal view”.

Apart from this, Kumari Selja’s resignation has also raised the party’s concerns as Udai Bhan’s appointment has the stamp of former CM Hooda whose stronghold on the party will be further strengthened since he himself is the CLP leader.

In a show of strength, the party tried to pitch an installation ceremony for Bhan but a roadshow before the event saw only Hooda and his son in attendance.

The Haryana unit has been plagued by internecine feud over organisational control with Hooda and his son and Rajya Sabha MP, Deepender Singh, trying to assert their dominance in the state Congress. Earlier, indications had emerged that either of the two would take over as the state unit chief but fearing infighting a compromise was struck with Bhan’s appointment.

As part of the compromise formula, along with Bhan, four working presidents representing different groups in the faction-ridden Haryana unit were chosen. But trouble seems to be far from over. The party is already facing anger from supporters of Adampur (Hisar) MLA Kuldeep Bishnoi, son of former CM Bhajan Lal.

Bishnoi is considered to be a strong non-Jat leader and was hoping to be picked up for the top slot. He has already expressed his disappointment at the rejig though falling short of quitting the party. He has asked his followers to exercise ‘restraint’ for now.

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