Is Haryana Congress ensuring a BJP victory and return of Khattar?


Going against the conventional wisdom that dominated and sustained the Congress for long in politics, the party has put all its eggs in one basket in Haryana. The faction led by former Haryana Congress president Ashok Tanwar has been completely sidelined not only in deciding affairs related to the upcoming assembly election but also in ticket distribution.

With this allegation, Ashok Tanwar led his supporters to stage a protest outside Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s home in New Delhi. But taking Haryana Congress’s internal political battle to New Delhi did not help his cause.

His complaint that his list of “15 Congress workers” was ignored by the election management team led by Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Kumari Selja did not have any impact on the second list released by the Congress party.

The two lists — of 84 and six candidates — apparently do not feature Congress leaders considered close to Ashok Tanwar, who was the Haryana Congress president till a month ago when Kumari Selja replaced him. The second list of candidates was released by the Congress after Tanwar’s protest.

Ashok Tanwar is sulking almost in the same way Bhupinder Singh Hooda was brooding during 2019 Lok Sabha election. Ashok Tanwar was at the helm of affairs for the Congress back then.

The dissension of Bhupinder Singh Hooda was thought to have worked against the Congress in the Lok Sabha election when Rahul Gandhi, then the party president, led an aggressive campaign against the BJP.

Now the Congress, under Sonia Gandhi, has tried to over-compensate Bhupinder Singh Hooda, who was on the sidelines when Rahul Gandhi was leading the party. Ashok Tanwar had been appointed as Haryana Congress chief by Rahul Gandhi, who appeared to be favouring the 43-year-old leader over the 73-year veteran Hooda.

Ashok Tanwar had another advantage with Rahul Gandhi. He came to Rahul Gandhi as a youth leader and was the youngest president of the Indian Youth Congress, which Rahul Gandhi devoted a lot of time and energy reviving.

Further, Tanwar is related to another Rahul Gandhi loyalist Ajay Maken, whose father Lalit Maken was the son-in-law of former President Shankar Dayal Sharma, a Congress stalwart his time. With the change of regime at the national level in the Congress, Ashok Tanwar seems to have fallen out of favour.

The change began with the Congress’s defeat in the Lok Sabha election. The BJP won seven out of 10 parliamentary seats. The Congress could win only one in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls — same as 2014 but losing the seat it had won five years ago.

More than the number of seats, it was the manner in which the Congress fared in Haryana during the Lok Sabha election that shocked the party. In 2014, when it was facing double anti-incumbency with Bhupinder Singh Hooda leading the Haryana government, the Congress was leading in 15 assembly segments.

The BJP which has 47 seats in the Haryana Assembly was leading in 79 assembly segments. The BJP hopes that the voting pattern would remain same given the strong Modi factor in Haryana particularly under the shadow of the Centre’s Article 370 move.

The Congress, on its part, is going to the Haryana Assembly election as a divided house. Ashok Tanwar has openly targeted Bhupinder Singh Hooda and if his protest outside Sonia Gandhi’s residence is any measure of his anguish against the Cognress’s decision to back the former Haryana chief minister, this could be an indication of how the party would contest the assembly polls.

A divided Congress is welcome news for the BJP and Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, who has shown a unique knack of hitting national headlines with controversial statements. Despite being a non-Jat in the Jat-dominated Haryana politics, Khattar fancies his chances for a second consecutive term if the Congress factions don’t bury their hatchet well before the first vote is cast on October 21.

Source By Indiatoday


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