M A I N   N E W S

Tarlochan enters RS fray as Independent
Shubhadeep Choudhury
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 17
With three candidates filing their nomination papers for the two Rajya Sabha seats from Haryana, a contest is on the cards for one of the seats.

All three candidates — Ms Kiran Chaudhary (Congress) Mr Ajay Chautala (INLD) and Mr Tarlochan Singh (Independent) — filed their papers today, the last day for filing the nominations.

While Mr Ajay Chautala is slated to win one of the seats by securing 29 first-preference votes of the 47-member INLD legislative team, Mr Tarlochan Singh, who claimed that he would get the "spare votes" of the INLD, is locked in a contest with the Congress nominee.

Apart from securing 17 first-preference votes from the INLD legislators, Mr Tarlochan Singh, Chairman of the National Minority Commission, is also slated to get the votes of six BJP legislators, three Independent MLAs supporting the INLD and the sole BSP legislator. His tally thus will be 28, one vote less than the number of votes expected to be secured by the Congress nominee.

Mr Tarlochan Singh, whose name was proposed by five BJP legislators, three Independent MLAs and the BSP MLA, did not give any clearcut answer as to how he would garner the additional vote.

Ms Kiran Chaudhary filed her papers first. She was accompanied by Mr Ajay Singh Yadav, officiating leader of the Congress Legislature Party (CLP); Mr Chander Mohan, Mr Zakir Hussain and Mr Karan Singh Dalal, Congress MLAs; Mr Ramkishan Fauji, HVP MLA; and Mr Surinder Singh, HVP Secretary-General, who is also Ms Chaudhary's husband.

Mr Tarlochan Singh was the next to file his papers. The event was marked by high drama. Earlier, five BJP legislators — Mr Krishan Pal Gurjar, Mr Kanwal Pal, Ms Veena Chhibber, Ms Sarita Narayan and Mr Kapoor Chand — came to the returning officer’s room.

Mr Tarlochan Singh came after a while and his name was proposed by all five BJP legislators. Mr Gurjar and others wanted to leave the room as soon as their job was over, but Mr Tarlochan Singh requested them to keep sitting while he himself went out .

When he returned, he had with him the entire INLD brigade, including INLD candidate, Ajay Singh Chautala, son of the Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala. Mr Sampat Singh, Finance Minister; Mr Abhey Chautala, MLA and the CM’s younger son, Mr Ashok Arora, Transport Minister and President of the Haryana INLD; and a number of INLD workers and legislators were a part of the team accompanying Mr Tarlochan Singh and Mr Ajay Chautala.

The BJP legislators tried to leave the room as soon the INLD members arrived. Mr Kanwar Pal, however, was held up by the boisterous INLD members and subjected to leg-pulling. Ms Veena Chhibber, who returned to the room on some errand, also had a similar experience.

Later, Mr Gurjar asserted there was no question of the BJP once again entering into an alliance with the INLD in future. Mr Tarlochan Singh’s name, he said, had been proposed by the BJP for a number of factors, including his track record as a social worker and the fact that he belonged to a minority religious community. “He is an Independent candidate and how he manages to get additional votes is his headache”, Mr Gurjar said. He added the Congress was the BJP’s “enemy number one”.

When asked if Mr Tarlochan Singh’s candidature signified the beginning of a new chapter in INLD-BJP relationship, Mr Abhay Chautala said the INLD always had good relations with the BJP. “We may have fought elections separately but Mr Om Prakash Chautala has said a number of times that he has a lot of regard for Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee,” he said.

Mr Sampat Singh said that it was natural for the INLD and the BJP — both being against the Congress, to cooperate with each other.

HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |