M A I N   N E W S

Congress suspends Kuldeep
Anita Katyal
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 7
The Congress today decided to take on the sulking former Haryana Chief Minister Bhajan Lal when it suspended his MP son Kuldeep Bishnoi for anti-party activities after his public attack against party president Sonia Gandhi.

Miffed at being denied the chief minister’s post two years ago, Bhajan Lal had been waging a proxy battle against the party through his younger son Kuldeep Bishnoi.

The father-son duo are now planning a show of strength at a public rally in June for which Bhajan Lal plans to rope in other dissidents like suspended leader Natwar Singh. Bishnoi did not say if they would form a new party but repeatedly maintained that they represented the real Congress since the party in Haryana was identifed with Bhajan Lal and not Sonia Gandhi.

Bishnoi had initially targeted Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda when he openly questioned the state government's move to acquire farmland for a special economic zone. He had questioned her decision to attend a public rally in Sirsa instead of visiting Panipat after the Samjhauta Express bomb blasts.

The Congress’ disciplinary action committee headed by defence minister A.K. Antony, which met here last night, took note of his statements and decided to suspend Bishnoi from the primary membership of the party.

“For the past one year you are indulging in anti-party activities by publicly criticising the policies of the party, the state government and party leadership. However, all your allegations are found to be baseless and without any substance,” the suspension letter stated.

The Congress has taken a calculated risk in suspending Bishnoi as Bhajan Lal does enjoy a substantial following among the non-Jats in Haryana. Having been unfettered, Bishnoi can now stir up more trouble for the party as the father and son can emerge as a rallying point for other dissidents.

Bishnoi, who received the letter this afternoon, remained as defiant as ever and launched a virtual tirade against Sonia, her advisers (whom he did not name) and the party’s policies. “What is my crime? I have raised an issue concerning the common man. I had written to Sonia Gandhi that she should have gone and visited the Samjhauta Express train blast victims in Panipat instead of attending a party rally in Rohtak,” Bishnoi told reporters here, adding that the Congress had now become Mukesh Ambani’s party. 



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