M A I N   N E W S

Cong delays release of candidates’ list
BJP, INLD release first lists
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 4
While the erstwhile alliance partners — the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) — have, independently of each of each other, come out with their first lists of candidates, the Congress has resorted to wait and watch policy by delaying the release of its first list till later this week.

While the ruling INLD released a list of 47 candidates, including 21 sitting MLAs and a member of Rajya Sabha, the BJP announced names of 39 candidates. including two candidates who lost the last Lok Sabha elections. The BJP has also named some of the sitting and former MLAs.

Meanwhile, Mr Gopi Chand Gehlot, Deputy Speaker of the Haryana Vidhan Sabha, resigned today. His resignation has been accepted and the Gurgaon assembly seat has been declared vacant. The name of Mr Gehlot figures in the INLD list. Last time he was elected as an Independent.

Though the State Election Committee of the Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee has sent a list of 300-odd candidates to the screening committee of the party High Command, it may take a while for the party to release the first list. Senior Congress leaders of the state, including Mr Bhajan Lal, Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Mr Birender Singh and Mr Randeep Surjewala, are all expected to be in the first list. Even the sitting Congress MLAs are hopeful of making the list. All will, however, depend upon lobbying at the national level now.

The Congressmen hope that the party high command would decide early as the INLD and BJP would be at a slightly advantageous position because of early declaration of their candidates. Since there is heavy pressure for each seat, the Congress leadership is tightlipped even about the names recommended to the high command. Many new faces, including youth and women candidates, cannot be ruled out in the final list of the party.

Interestingly, the Chief Minister, Mr Om Parkash Chautala, figures in the first list as he will be contesting from Narwana. Some of his ministers, including Mr Jaswinder Singh Sandhu (Pehowa), Mr Ashok Kumar Arora (Thanesar), Prof Sampat Singh (Bhatt Kalan) and Mr Mohammed Ilyas (Ferozepore Jhirka) also figure in the first list.

Mr Chautala has denied the ticket to three sitting legislators — Mr Dharampal (Nilokheri), Mr Dina Ram (Kalayat) and Mr Bhag Singh Chattar (Uchala Kalan). They have been replaced by Mr Rajinder Singh Anjanthalli, Dr Pritam Singh and Mr Desaj Nambardar, a former minister.

In Gharaunda, the INLD has named Mrs Rekha Rana, wife of sitting MLA, Mr Ramesh Rana, as the party candidate. In Hisar, it has decided to field Ms Sumitra Mahajan, member of the Rajya Sabha, as its candidate for the Assembly elections.

The Bharatiya Janata Party has reposed its faith in some of its stalwarts and legislators, both sitting and former, as it would , as of now, plan to go to the polls alone. Prominent among those in the first list include Mr Kanwar Pal Singh (Chchicchroli), Ms Beena Chhibber (Ambala), Mr Gurdial Singh Saini (Thanesar), Mr Balbir Saini (Pehowa), Mr Chander Bhatia (Faridabad), Mr Krishan Lal Gujjar ((Mewla Maharajpur), Mr Avtar Singh Badana (Sohna), Ms Sudha Yadav (Gurgaon), Mr Dayanand Bainda (Bhatt Kalan), Rao Narbir Singh (Jattusana) and Mr Ram Bilas Sharma (Mahendragarh).

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