Poaching Fears Grip Haryana Congress As MLAs Leave for Raipur

Fearing horse-trading of MLAs by the BJP ahead of the crucial Rajya Sabha polls, Haryana Congress on Thursday moved its legislators to Raipur in Chhattisgarh to protect them from poaching. Polling for two Rajya Sabha seats will be held on June 10.

Two seats in the Upper House of Parliament from the Haryana will fall vacant in August as the terms of media baron Subhash Chandra, elected as an Independent with the BJP’s support, and BJP leader Dushyant Gautam will expire.

“The bus is here. We all will go somewhere but the destination will be known later. All MLAs are united,” Haryana Congress in-charge Vivek Bansal told news agency ANI. He arrived at the residence of Congress MP Deepender Singh Hooda along with other party MLAs.

Speaking on the same, Hooda told reporters in Delhi, “No MLA is upset. All MLAs will go there (to Chhattisgarh). I want to tell BJP that it should keep its Haryana MLAs safe.”

BJP candidate Krishan Lal Panwar and Congress leader Ajay Maken have filed their nomination papers from Haryana for the Rajya Sabha elections. Kartikeya Sharma, the son of former Congress leader Venod Sharma and Ambala Mayor Shakti Rani Sharma, has also filed his nomination as an Independent candidate.

With the entry of Kartikeya Sharma, the fight for two Rajya Sabha seats is set to become interesting. Given the numerical strength in the state assembly, the BJP is set to win one seat.

Congress’ headache has increased 2-3 MLAs did not attend the recent party MLAs’ meeting. The Congress has a strength of 31 votes in the 90-member Haryana assembly, and a difference of a single vote can alter its equations.

About Candidates

Krishan Lal Panwar: He is 64 and a former transport and jails minister. A Dalit leader, Panwar had unsuccessfully contested the 2019 assembly elections.

Ajay Maken: While filing nomination papers, he was accompanied by Congress’s Haryana in-charge Vivek Bansal, former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Haryana Congress chief Udai Bhan and MP Deepender Hooda. Maken is a general secretary of the All India Congress Committee and he is a two-time MP. He was a minister in the Manmohan Singh-led government at the Centre and also in the Sheila Dikshit government in Delhi.

Kartikeya Sharma: He is the owner of a media firm and the son-in-law of Congress leader and former Haryana Speaker Kuldeep Sharma.

Meanwhile, Jannayak Janta Party chief Ajay Singh Chautala said his party’s 10 MLAs will support Kartikeya Sharma. “Kartikeya Sharma today filed his papers and all our MLAs will support him,” Chautala told reporters and expressed hope that Kartikeya Sharma will be able to get the necessary support for his victory.

In the 90-member Haryana assembly, the BJP has 40 MLAs while the Congress has 31. The JJP, which is an ally of the BJP, has 10 legislators while the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) and Haryana Lokhit Party one each and seven are Independents.

(with inputs from agencies)

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