|Tuesday, January 25, 2000,
over Cong nominees
KARNAL, Jan 24 Despite large-scale bickering over the selection of Congress nominees in Haryana, the final list is likely to be announced by the party President, Mrs Sonia Gandhi on January 27. Highly-placed sources in the Congress high command told Tribune News Service that a tug of war was on between the groups led by Mr Bhupender Singh Hooda and Mr Bhajan Lal, to score over each other in the final nomination list. So much so that claims of such candidates who could not win seats by any stretch of imagination have been put in.
Such a situation has, naturally, upset Mrs Sonia Gandhi. Consequently, she has formed another committee comprising Mr Moti Lal Vora, Mr Madhav Rao Scindia, Mr Kumara Swami, Mrs Kartar Devi, Mr Bhupender Singh Hooda and Mr Bhajan Lal to short-list the panels submitted by the Congress election committee in Haryana and later by the observers. This committee has been directed to submit a panel of two names each of such constituencies where there has been no agreement.
Sources in the high command revealed that their had been no unanimity at as many as 35 seats. The committee has been holding marathon sittings to reach unanimity on the nominees. Mr Bhajan Lal is pressing the claims of his loyalists in the districts of Ambala, Kurukshetra, Yamunanagar, Karnal, Hisar, Faridabad, Fatehabad, Sirsa and in some cases in Sonepat. The situation has come to such a pass that some recommendations have been made on personal loyalty instead of winning capacity. For the Gohana seat in Sonepat, Mr Bhajan Lal is not ready to accede to the nomination of Mr Kitab Singh Malik. He prefers Mr Dharampal Malik who had lost the security in the last parliamentary poll as a Congress candidate. Such instances could be multiplied from each district. In such a situation, the task of the committee to reach unanimity has become very difficult.
While Mrs Sonia Gandhi is reported to be keen to give due representation to the young blood and women, the party leaders of Haryana are trying to tread the old beaten path. Sources point out that it is for this reason that the list of recommendations suggested by the election committee will be first scrutinised by Mrs Sonia Gandhi, personally, before being put before the Congress Working Committee for discussions. It is being surmised that the final list may be full of surprises for different groups in the state Congress. At present, it also seems that the Congress high command is in no mood to adjust the claims of those who had defected from the Haryana Vikas Party. Only candidates who have the winning potential will be considered.
The Congress President has also reportedly advised some of her confidants in the committee that while making recommendations for some seats, inner-contradictions between the INLD and the BJP should be kept in mind.
It is learnt that every
care is being taken to ensure that the final list of
recommendations does not provide any hint that either the
Bhajan Lal group or the Hooda group enjoys weightage in
the final list. The clear direction is that interests of
various sections and groups should be taken into
consideration before the submission of list to Mrs Sonia
Gandhi. The Scindia-Vora committee has only a day to go
before making its final recommendations.
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