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IYC chief resigns over denial of ticket
Yoginder Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 14
The President of the Indian Youth Congress (IYC), Mr Randeep Singh Surjewala, has resigned from his post, presumably in protest against the denial of the party ticket from the Hisar Lok Sabha constituency.

The party is believed to have decided to nominate Mr Surjewala’s arch-rival, Mr Jai Prakash Barwala, MLA from Barwala, from Hisar.

Mr Surjewala had tendered his resignation to Mr Oscar Fernandes, AICC general secretary in charge of the front organisations, on April 12. According to informed sources, he took the extreme step after the Political Adviser to Mrs Sonia Gandhi, Mr Ahmed Patel, told him that he could not be given the party ticket from Hisar because a former Haryana Congress President, Mr Birender Singh, had threatened to quit his assignment in the Uttar Pradesh elections if Mr Barwala was not nominated from Hisar.

The sources said Mr Surjewala had not made his resignation public in the hope that since he was assured of the ticket from Hisar by Mrs Gandhi. Mr Barwala was also being supported by the Leader of the Opposition in the Haryana Assembly, Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda. Supporters of Mr Barwala had also called a meeting at Jind for tomorrow to decide his “political future” as he was in touch with the BJP. It seems that Mrs Gandhi gave in to the threats by Mr Barwala and his supporters and gave her consent for his nomination from Hisar, leaving the Youth Congress President in the lurch.

It is learnt that the party had finalised its candidates for the remaining three constituencies of Kurukshetra, Karnal and Faridabad. The official announcement was to be made today. However, after the news of Mr Surjewala’s resignation leaked to the media, the party withheld the announcement.

Mr Surjewala, who worked hard during the past four years to make the IYC a fighting force, is expected to meet Ms Sonia Gandhi tonight on her return from the election tour.

Meanwhile, pressures and pulls are on for the other three seats also. For the Faridabad seat, from where the Congress is believed to have finalised the name of Mr Avtar Bhadana, sitting MP from Meerut, two veteran Meo leaders, Mr Tayyab Hussein and Mr Khursheed Ahmed, have jointly urged the high command to give the ticket to a Meo Muslim candidate as the constituency has about four lakh votes of the community. Interestingly, both are otherwise traditional rivals. This is for the first time that they have joined hands. The INLD has already fielded a Meo candidate.

For the Kurukshetra seat, from where the name of a former Haryana minister, Mr A.C. Choudhary, was finalised, Mr Naveen Jindal, son of an industrialist-turned-politician, Mr O.P. Jindal, and Mr Tara Singh, former MP, are still trying to persuade the high command to nominate them. Mr Jindal’s supporters have convened a meeting at Kurukshetra on April 16. Earlier this meeting was to be held on April 15.

A former Haryana Congress President, Mr Chakravarty Sharma, is believed to have staked his claim. The party had finalised the name of a former MP, Mr Arvind Sharma, for this seat. The four-time MP, Mr Chiranji Lal Sharma, has submitted his resignation from the party in protest against the denial of the ticket to his son, Kuldip.

If the Congress nominates Mr Barwala from Hisar, this would upset the apple cart of the BJP which was planning to fish in the troubled Congress waters.

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