Friday, January 28, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Haryana parties undecided on lists
By Yoginder Gupta
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 27 — Though the nominations for the Haryana Assembly elections opened today, no major party in the state — the INLD, the Congress and the BJP — has been able to release its lists of candidates.

While the lists of the INLD and the BJP have been held up due to the failure of the two parties to resolve their differences over certain seats, which each party wants to contest, the Congress too could not balance claims and counter-claims of various candidates on many seats.

According to informed sources, after deciding in principle to contest the coming elections in alliance with each other a couple of days ago, serious differences have cropped up between the BJP and INLD over at least five seats which the BJP wants to contest, and the INLD is not willing to leave it for its junior partner.

The sources say the seats over which the dispute persists are Palwal, Ratia, Dadri, Gohana and Rajaund, Mr Jarnail Singh today filed his papers from Ratia as the INLD candidate. In fact eight INLD candidates filed their papers today from as many constituencies, though the BJP and the INLD are yet to come to terms for an alliance. No BJP candidate filed his nomination paper today.

It is learnt that on several seats the BJP and the INLD were able to resolve their differences in the spirit of give and take. While the BJP surrendered the Gharaunda seat of the INLD, the latter agreed to leave Gurgaon, Kalka and Narnaul to the former.

The Gharaunda seat was won by Mr Ramesh Kashyap of the BJP in 1996. However, on a recount of the votes as ordered by the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Mr Ramesh Rana of the INLD was declared a winner last year. Both parties were so far staking their claim to the seat.

The INLD wanted to contest the Gurgaon and Kalka seats also but during negotiations its leadership agreed to give these seats to the BJP.

The general secretary (organisation), Haryana BJP, Mr Manohar Lal Khattar, told TNS that the issue would now come up before the Parliamentary Board tomorrow.

The Congress Working Committee, which has been converted into the Parliamentary Board for the purpose of finalising the party’s candidates for the elections, met in Delhi this afternoon to consider the Haryana list.

The sources say the CWC deferred a discussion on the Haryana list after about 20 minutes when it found that the two-member scrutiny committee comprising Mr Moti Lal Vora and Mr Madhavrao Scindia had not done its home work properly.

The committee had failed to shortlist the panels submitted by the State Election Committee which were too large to be discussed by the highest-decision making body of the Congress. The CWC also found that that the panel had not followed the principle for nominating candidates decided at Pachmarhi.

It is learnt that the scrutiny committee had been asked to reduce the size of panels to at least manageable proportions. The CWC will again meet on January 29 when it may finalise the Congress list. Meanwhile, three persons today filed their papers as Congress candidates.

It may be recalled that Congress workers and leaders in Haryana had urged Mr Vora, AICC General Secretary in charge of the state, and various observers sent by the party to identify possible candidates so that candidates must be finalised well in time unlike the past. Otherwise the party nominees get very little time for campaigning.

Mr Vora had promised that the party would finalise its candidates by January 22 definitely.

Meanwhile, Mr Randeep Singh Surjewala, sitting MLA from Narwana, will file his papers from his traditional constituency on February 1. The Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, will also file his nomination from Narwana on February 2. Mr Chautala today filed his papers from Rori.

As a show of unity all senior Haryana Congress leaders, including Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Mr Bhajan Lal, Mr Birender Singh, Mr Jai Prakash and Mr O.P. Jindal, will accompany Mr Surjewala to the Returning Officer on February 1.

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