M A I N   N E W S

Cong sweeps Haryana
* Chautala loses Narwana
* Record win by Bhajan

Yoginder Gupta & Shubhadeep Choudhury
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 27
The Congress tsunami hit Haryana today. The tsunami virtually wiped away the ruling Indian National Lok Dal, which suffered its worst ever defeat. The party could win only nine seats against the Congress tally of 67, the highest it has ever won in Haryana. The Haryana voter lived up to its reputation that when it punishes, it punishes hard.

To make the defeat most humiliating for the INLD, the entire Cabinet, including the Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, tasted defeat in the Vidhan Sabha elections. However, Mr Chautala would enter the 10th Vidhan Sabha because he could win the Rori seat, which he had contested along with Narwana, from where the young turk, Mr Randeep Singh Surjewala, defeated him by a narrow margin of 1859 votes. Mr Chautala won Rori by a margin of 26,578 votes.

Mr Surjewala had its sweet revenge because in 2000 he had lost to Mr Chautala by about 2,000 votes.

The INLD tally is not enough to get it the status of a recognised Opposition party and its leader the status of the Leader of Opposition. Under the rules only the leader of that Opposition party gets the status of Leader of Opposition, which has a minimum 10 members in the House.

The BJP, which contested the elections on its own after a gap of 14 years, could win only two seats. The BSP and the NCP also picked up one seat each, while the tally of Independent candidates, most of them Congress rebels, was 10.

The Haryana Congress President, Mr Bhajan Lal, retained his Adampur seat with the highest margin of 71,081 votes, followed by Mr Mahendra Pratap Singh (Cong), who wrested the Mewla Maharajpur seat from Mr Krishan Pal Gurjar of the BJP with a margin of 63,108 votes. Mr Bhajan Lal’s son, Mr Chander Mohan, retained the Kalka seat for the fourth consecutive term by a margin of 61,476 votes. He defeated Mr Pradeep Choudhary of the INLD.

Mrs Rekha Rana of the INLD won the Ghauranda seat in Karnal district by a margin of 21 votes, the lowest in the state. She defeated Mr Jaipal Sharma, Independent. Mr Anil Vij, Independent, lost the Ambala cantonment seat to Mr Devinder Kumar Bansal of the Congress by 615 votes, the second lowest margin in the state.

Capt Ajay Singh Yadav, officiating leader of the Congress Legislature Party, equalled the record of the former INLD Minister, Mr Dhir Pal, of winning the same seat for five times consecutively. Capt Yadav won from Rewari by defeating his nearest rival, Mr Randhir Singh Kapriwas of the BJP by a margin of 12,779 votes.

Mr Chautala’s claim of being the leader of the Jats was demolished by the Congress tsunami. He will be the only Jat MLA of his party in the new Vidhan Sabha. Six of the INLD candidates have won from reserve constituencies, while one is a Muslim and the other is a Rajput.

He has won only one seat in what is known as the Jat belt comprising Rohtak, Sonepat, Jhajjar, Jind, Hisar and parts of Kaithal and Bhiwani districts.


Chautala submits resignation
Tribune News Service

Mr Om Prakash Chautala puts up a brave face outside Raj Bhavan after submitting his resignation to the Governor in Chandigarh on Sunday.
Mr Om Prakash Chautala puts up a brave face outside Raj Bhavan after submitting his resignation to the Governor in Chandigarh on Sunday. —Tribune photo: Manoj Mahajan

Chandigarh, February 27
Following the worst ever defeat of his party, the Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, submitted his resignation to the Governor, Dr A.R. Kidwai, this evening.

Dr Kidwai accepted his resignation and asked him to continue as Chief Minister till alternative arrangements were made.

Mr Chautala reached Haryana Raj Bhawan at 5.05 p.m., accompanied by his Principal Secretary, Mr B.D. Dhalia, in an Ambassador car. He spent about 20 minutes with the Governor, with whom he did not enjoy cordial relations during his tenure.

It seems the resignation was not properly worded. A few minutes after Mr Chautala went inside the Raj Bhawan, a member of the personal staff of Mr Dhalia came to Raj Bhavan, carrying a file. Soon after Mr Chautala came out.

He told waiting newsmen that he had submitted his resignation following an adverse popular mandate. He said he was happy that since the Congress would now be in power at the Centre as well as both in Punjab and Haryana, the construction of the SYL canal would be expedited. He said he had always maintained that he wanted water for the state and not the credit to do so.

Answering a question he said he did not realise even after the humiliating defeat of his party in the last Lok Sabha elections that the people were so angry with him and his party. He did not let the opportunity go without having a dig at the electronic media. He said after the electronic media projected his defeat in pre-poll surveys and exit polls, he was confident that like in the past this time also the results of these surveys would prove wrong.

Mr Chautala said he would sit in the Opposition and if the Congress worked in the interest of the people, he would extend his support to it even if it did not ask for.



Outcome of electoral battle
Tribune News Service

Bhajan Lal
Bhajan Lal

Surinder Singh
Surinder Singh

Venod Sharma
Venod Sharma

S.S. Surjewala
S.S. Surjewala

Capt Ajay Singh
Capt Ajay Singh

Karan Dalal
Karan Dalal

Chandigarh, February 27
From Kalka Congress candidate Mr Chander Mohan defeated his nearest rival Mr Pradeep Chaudhry of INLD by 61476 votes. Mr Chander Mohan secured 98765 votes. At Naraingarh, Congress candidate Mr Ram Kishan (40877 votes) defeated Mr Pawan Kumar (INLD) by 7753 votes. At Sadhaura (SC) constituency, INLD nominee Mr Balwant Singh (35664 votes) defeated his nearest rival Mr Deep Chand (Independent) by 8442 votes.

At Chachhrauli, Mr Arjan Singh, BSP nominee, secured 35853 votes and defeated Mr Akram Khan of INLD by 4228 votes. At Yamunanagar, Congress candidate Ms Krishna Pandit (47360) defeated Mr Ghanashyam Dass of BJP by 24509 votes.

At Jagadhari Congress candidate Mr Subhash Chand (32432 votes) defeated BSP nominee Mr Rajiv Kumar by 3194 votes. At Mulana (SC), Congress candidate Mr Phool Chand Mullana (45067 votes) defeated Mr Rishal Singh of INLD by 9130 votes. At Ambala Cantt. Congress candidate Mr D K Bansal (17723 votes) defeated Independent candidate Mr Anil Vij by 615 votes. At Ambala city Mr Vinod Kumar Sharma of Congress got 50618 votes and defeated INLD nominee Mr Surjit Singh by 35316 votes.

At Naggal Mr Nirmal Singh of Congress got 52579 votes and defeated INLD candidate Mr J S Mallour by 5492 votes. At Indri Congress nominee Mr Rakesh Kumar (40740 votes) defeated Independent contestant Mr Bhim Sain Mehta by 19578 votes. At Nilokheri Mr Jai Singh Rana of Congress secured 37931 votes and defeated BJP’s Mr Bakshish Singh by 12394 votes.

At Karnal Ms Sumita Singh of Congress secured 53300 votes and defeated Independent candidate Mr Jai Parkash by 33997 votes. At Jundla (SC) Ms Meena Rani of Congress got 31844 votes and defeated Mr Naphe Singh of INLD by 2141 votes. At Gharaunda Ms Rekha of INLD of the INLD secured 25237 votes and defeated Independent Mr Jaipal Sharma by the paltry margin of 21 votes.

At Assandh (SC) Congress candidate Raj Rani Poonam (46109 votes) defeated Mr Krishan Lal of the INLD by 12545 votes. At Panipat Congress candidate Mr Balbir Pal Shah (55828 votes) defeated Independent candidate Mr Om Prakash Jain by 13647 votes.

At Samalkha Congress candidate Mr Bhart Singh (51767 votes) defeated Mr Kartar Singh Chhokar of INLD by 23765 votes. At Naultha Ms Prasanni Devi of Congress secured 37396 votes and defeated INLD candidate Ms Ramrati Jaglan by 2490 votes. At Shahbad Congress representative Kharaiti Lal got 36377 votes and defeated Mr Onkar Singh of INLD by 1912 votes.

At Radaur INLD candidate Mr I S Palaka secured 26933 votes and defeated Mr Lehri Singh of Congress by 5263 votes. At Thanesar Mr R K Gupta of Congress got 55729 votes and defeated Mr Ashok Kumar Arora of INLD by 14786 votes. At Pehowa Mr Harmohinder Singh of Congress secured 3408 votes and defeated Mr Balbir Singh Saini of Congress by 3653 votes.

At Guhla (SC) Mr Dillu Ram of Congress got 55487 votes and defeated Mr Buta Singh of INLD by 10217 votes. At Kaithal Congress candidate Mr S S Surjewala got 43573 votes and defeated Mr Kailash Bhagat of INLD by 5112 votes. At Pundri Mr Dinesh Kaushik, Independent, got 33024 votes and defeated Mr Narender Sharma of INLD by 8026 votes.

At Pail, Tejender Pal Singh, Independent, got 32437 votes and defeated Rampal of INLD by 6502 votes. At Hassangarh, Mr Naresh Kumar of BJP got 36328 votes and defeated Mr Chakravarty Sharma of Congress 10098 votes. At Kiloi, Shri Kishan Hooda of Congress got 56716 votes and defeated Mr Prem Singh of INLD by 34863 votes.

At Rohtak, Mr Shadi Lal Batra of Congress got 45445 votes and defeated Mr Munish Grover of BJP 10746 votes. At Mehem Congress candidate Mr Anand Singh Dangi got 51078 votes and defeated Mr Rajbir of INLD by 23077 votes.

At Kalanaur, Ms Kartari Devi of Congress secured 34896 votes and defeated Mr Mewa Singh of INLD by 29053 votes. At Beri Mr Raghuvir Singh Kadian of Congress got 43133 votes and defeated Mr Om Pehlwan of Congress by 15468 votes.

At Sahlawas Ms Anita Yadav of Congress got 45,755 votes and defeated Mr Zile Singh of INLD by 15799 votes. At Jhajjar Mr Hari Ram of Congress got 43739 votes and defeated Ms Kanta Devi of INLD by 5,096 votes. At Badli, Independent candidate Mr Naresh Kumar got 28838 votes and defeated nearest rival Mr Chatar Singh of Congress by 2622 votes.

At Bahadurgarh, Mr Rajinder Singh of Congress (41313 votes) defeated Mr Nafe Singh of INLD by 5096 votes. At Baroda (SC), Mr Ramphal of INLD got 26426 votes and defeated Mr Rampal of Congress by 13,402 votes. At Gohana, Mr Dharam Pal Singh Malik of Congress got 42,000 votes and defeated Mr Prem Singh of INLD by 5191 votes.

At Sonipat Mr Anil Thakar of Congress got 33057 votes and defeated Independent candidate Mr Rajiv Kumar by 416 votes. At Rai, Mr Ramesh Chander of Congress got 38468 votes and defeated Mr Ajit of INLD by 10696 votes. At Rohat, Mr Sukhbir Singh of NCP got 43246 votes and defeated Mr Padam Singh of INLD by 23140 votes. At Kalayat (SC), Ms Geeta of Congress secured 35,730 votes and defeated Mr Pritam of INLD by 1,412 votes.

At Narwana, HPCC working president Mr R S Surjewala got 52813 votes and defeated INLD candidate, Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala by 1859 votes. At Uchana Kalan, former HPCC chief Mr Birender Singh got 47590 votes and defeated Mr Des Raj of INLD by 12832 votes.

At Rajound, Mr Satvinder Singh of Congress got 31,858 votes and defeated Mr Balraj of INLD by 2797 votes. At Jind, Mr Mange Ram Gupta of Congress got 43883 votes and defeated Mr Surender Singh of INLD by 17,435 votes. At Julana, Mr Sher Singh of Congress got 32232 votes and defeated Mr Parminder Singh, Independent candidate, by 6,822 votes.

At Safidon, Independent candidate Mr Bachan Singh Arya got 43721 votes and defeated Congress nominee Mr Karamvir Saini by 17644 votes. At Faridabad, Mr A C Chaudhary of Congress got 84,788 votes and defeated Mr Chander Bhatia of BJP by 52895 votes.

At Mewla Maharajpur, Mr Mahender Pratap of Congress secured 111478 votes and defeated Mr Krishan Pal Gujjar of BJP by 63108 votes. Mr Sharda Rathore of Congress (68289 votes) defeated Mr Mool Chand Sharma of INLD by 34705 votes in Ballabhgarh. Mr Karan Singh Dalal of Congress got 58074 votes and defeated Mr Subhash Chand of INLD by 28,323 votes at Palwal.

Mr Udai Bhan of Congress (45,683 votes) defeated Mr Jagdis Nayar of INLD by 5331 votes at Hassanpur (SC). Mr Harsh Kumar, Independent candidate, secured 31879 votes and defeated Mr Jaleb Khan of Congress by 8830 votes at Hathin.

In Ferozepur Jhirka Mr Azad Mohd of the Congress polled 33372 votes to defeat Mr Shakhrulla Khan of INLD by 1723 votes. In Nuh Mr Habib-ur-Rehman (Ind) got 36,879 votes to defeat Mr Aftab Ahmed (Cong) by 4,359 votes. Mr Ahmed is a son of a veteran Congress leader, Mr Khurshid Ahmed. Similarly, Mr Zakir Hussain, sitting Congress MLA and a son of another veteran Congress Leader, Mr Tyab Hussain, lost to Mr Sahida (INLD) by a narrow margin of 964 votes in Taoru. Mr Sahida got 34,194 votes.

Mr Sukhbir Singh (Ind) defeated Mr Dharam Pal, sitting Congress MLA, from Sohna by 12,235 votes by polling 50,967 votes. A former Minister, Mr Kartar Singh Bhadana of the BJP, also lost from here.

A former Minister, Mr Dharambir Gauba (Cong) won the Gurgaon seat by 40,854 votes. He defeated the Deputy Speaker of the Vidhan Sabha, Mr Gopi Chand Gahlot (INLD). Mr Bhupinder (Cong) won the Pataudi reserved seat by a margin of 8,516 votes. He defeated Mr Ganga Ram of the INLD.

The sitting Congress MLA, Mr Dharamvir Singh, defeated Mr Ranbir Mandola (INLD) in Badhra by 17,236 votes. In the neighbouring constituency of Dadri, Mr Nirpender (Cong) defeated Mr Satpal Sangwan (Ind) by 1290 votes. The Chairman of the BCCI, Mr Ranbir Singh Mahendra (Cong) won from Mundhal Khurd by a margin of 11,586 votes over Mr Raghvir Singh (INLD).

Dr Shankar Bhardwaj (Cong) polled 45,675 votes to defeat Mr Ghanshyam Saraf of the BJP by 21,801 votes in Bhiwani. Mr Surender Singh (Cong), a son of the former Chief Minister, Mr Bansi Lal, won the Tosham seat by defeating Mr Sunil Kumar Lamba (INLD) by 22,612 votes. Mr Somvir Singh, a son-in-law of Mr Bansi Lal, won from Loharu by defeating the Education Minister, Mr Bahadur Singh (INLD) by 12,0320 votes. Mr Ram Kishan Fauji, sitting Congress MLA, retained his Bawani Khera (SC) seat by defeating Mr Raghbir Singh Ranga (INLD) by 22,447 votes.

Mr Randhir (Cong), brother of Mr Jai Prakash, Congress MP from Hisar, won the Barwala seat by defeating Mr Umed Singh Lohan (INLD) by 3420 votes. The winner polled 34,084 votes.

Mr Ram Kumar Gautam of the BJP won the Narnaund seat by a margin of 1399 votes over Ms Saroj of the INLD. Mr Amir Chand Makkar (Cong) won from Hansi by defeating Mr Vinod Bhayana (Ind) by 4453 votes.

The industrialist-turned-politician, Mr Om Prakash Jindal (Cong) retained the Hissar seat by 10,876 votes. His nearest rival was Mr Hari Singh Saini (Ind).

A former Minister, Prof Chhattar Pal Singh (Cong), defeated Mr Jogi Ram Sihag (Ind) by 26,444 votes to win from Ghirai. In 1991, he had defeated former Deputy Prime Minister Devi Lal from this seat. Mr Paramvir Singh (Cong), a son of a former Haryana Congress President, Mr Harpal Singh, won from Tohana by defeating Mr Nishan Singh (INLD) by 18,783 votes.

Mr Gian Chand (INLD) won the Ratia reserved seat by defeating Mr Gurdeep Singh (Cong), a son of Mr Atam Singh Gill, Congress MP from Sirsa, by 10,051 votes. Mr Dura Ram, a nephew of Mr Bhajan Lal, defeated the sitting INLD MLA, Mrs Swatantra Bala, by 10,625 votes in Fatehabad.

Mr Bhajan Lal (Cong) retained his Adampur seat by defeating Mr Rajesh Godara (INLD) by a whopping margin of 71,081 votes. He polled 86,963 votes against 15,882 votes polled by Mr Godara.

Mr Bharat Singh (Cong) defeated sitting INLD MLA Vidya Beniwal in Darba by 11,444 votes. Dr Sushil Kumar Indora, a former INLD MP, won the Ellenabad (SC) seat for his party by defeating Mr Mani Ram Keharwala (Cong) by 21,882 votes. A former Congress Minister, Mr Lachhman Dass Arora (Cong), retained Sirsa by defeating Mr Padam Jain (INLD) by 15,304 votes.

Mr Chautala defeated Mr Jagdish Nehra (Cong) in Rori by 26,578 votes. Mr Chautala polled 67,996 votes against 41,418 votes polled by Mr Nehra. The sitting INLD MLA, Dr Sita Ram, retained Dabwali (SC) by defeating Mr Jagan Nath, a relative of the Congress MP from Ambala, Ms Selja, by 8,025 votes. Mrs Shakuntla Bhagwaria (Ind) defeated Mr Bharat Singh (Cong) by 3121 votes in Bawal (SC).

Capt Ajay Singh Yadav retained Rewari by defeating Mr Randhir Singh Kapriwas (BJP) by 12, 779 votes. Capt Yadav polled 48,924 votes. Mr Yadvender Singh, a brother of the Union Minister of State for External Affairs, Rao Inderjit Singh, defeated Mr Jagdish Yadav (INLD) by 1459 votes in Jatusana. A former Minister, Rao Narbir Singh (BJP) and the fire-brand leader of the Ahirwas, Mr Raghu Yadav, were relegated to the third and fourth positions, respectively.

The sitting Congress MLA, Mr Daan Singh, defeated the veteran BJP leader, Mr Ram Bilas Sharma, by 20,649 votes to retain Mahendergarh seat. Mr Naresh Yadav (Ind) defeated the sitting Congress MLA, Rao Narinder Singh, in Ateli by a margin of 2956 votes. Mr Radhey Shyam (Ind) defeated Mr Chander Parkash (Cong) by 4398 votes in Narnaul.


Decision on CM tomorrow; many in race
Anita Katyal
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 27
The Congress party's landslide victory in Haryana today triggered a mad scramble for the Chief Minister's post with several senior state leaders promptly positioning themselves as the "right choice" for the top job.

Former Chief Minister and PCC chief Bhajan Lal, senior leaders Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Birender Singh and Union Minister Selja and Mr Randeep Singh Surjewala have thrown in their hat in the ring.

Others who also see themsleves in contention are Union Minister Rao Inderjeet Singh and former CLP leader Ajay Singh Yadav. While Mr Bhajan Lal and Mr Hooda have been more upfront, others are subtle in staking their claim.

The official word from Mr Janardan Dwivedi, AICC in charge of Haryana, is that the decision will be taken after ascertaining the views of the newly elected legislators at a meeting of the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) scheduled for March 1 in Chandigarh.

While the AICC has not given an indication about its choice, Haryana strongman Bhajan Lal, who has been Chief Minister thrice in the past, appears to lead the race.

His supporters maintain that Mr Bhajan Lal is not only more experienced but he also enjoys the support of a sizeable number of the newly elected legislators as they were given ticket at this behest.

While the AICC will find it difficult to shake off Mr Bhajan Lal's claims, given his "seniority and resourcefulness" as a party functionary put it, it will be equally difficult for Congress President Sonia Gandhi to ignore the strong opposition to him from within the party ranks.

Even since the polling ended, his detractors have been apprising AICC leaders about how Mr Bhajan Lal sabotaged the election of several official candidates.

The anti-Bhajan Lal lobby is seeking to keep their bete noire out on the plea that the party opt for a Jat Chief Minister this time as this all-powerful community had voted en masse for the Congress.

It is argued that Mr Om Prakash Chautala is the only Jat leader from the Indian National Lok Dal to have won this time, clearly indicating that the Jats have deserted this party.

If this argument is accepted, Mr Bhajan Lal, who belongs to the Bishnoi community, will be out of the race with Jat leaders like Mr Hooda, Mr Birender Singh and Mr Surjewala emerging as frontrunners.

According to Selja supporters, being a Dalit, Ms Selja would help consolidate the SC vote.

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