AICC yet to discuss leadership change in Haryana
Chandigarh, September 1
The support for Haryana Congress president Phool Chand Mullana from various quarters indicates that he may stay on despite two terms as the party president.
Party general secretary and in charge for Haryana Shakeel Ahmed has indicated that he is likely to suggest three different alternatives to the high command to reduce dissidence in the state unit. The high command will look at adjusting leaders from all factions in a “reconstituted Pradesh Congress Committee”. It will reportedly try to get Mullana a few deputies who will help him run affairs of the party.
Besides Ahmed, other senior Congress leaders, including Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, are believed to be in favour of Mullana continuing. At the same time, on the pattern of Punjab, the PCC may get a few vice-presidents, representing various Congress factions with a “please-all” approach.
If there is a vice-president from a different faction, including the Congressmen aligned to Union Minister Kumari Selja or former Finance Minister Birender Singh, the working of the party may become smoothened.
During his visit to Chandigarh to participate in a function to mark the 18th death anniversary of former Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh, Ahmed confirmed that he was aware of the various permutations and combinations that were being discussed and he would apprise the party high command about these as and when the issue came up for discussion.
It is felt if Mullana was to be replaced; Sirsa MP Ashok Tanwar would be the most acceptable choice. A former All Indian Youth Congress president, Tanwar is related to Ajay Maken, Congress Spokesperson and general secretary. Maken is believed to be close to Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and could have a say in Tanwar’s appointment.
Contrary to the popular perception that Selja is the front-runner for the job, there is reportedly little consensus on her name. Barring Birender Singh’s recommendation, there are not many who feel that she will be a good candidate.
The Chief Minister is also opposed to her becoming the party president.
The argument given by the anti-Selja lobby is that given her differences with Hooda, she will continue to be very critical of the government, as she is today. This will not augur well for the party in the run-up to the General Election.
The party high command, it is learnt, is yet to discuss the report on factionalism submitted after Birender Singh’s Jind rally.
The rally was organised by Buirender Singh to mark birth anniversary of Rajiv Gandhi on August 20. Digvijaya Singh represented AICC president Sonia Gandhi at the rally, while Shakeel Ahmed and Haryana’s co-in charge Asha Kumari was also present.
They are believed to have told the central leadership about how Mullana has failed to curb factionalism.
With all not being well in the Haryana Congress, where rallies are turning out to be “pro-Hooda” or “detractors’ rallies”, the solution before the party high command is not merely to change the party leadership, but to find a solution acceptable to all.
The most obvious appears to be maintaining the status quo as far as the party president is concerned, but to reconstitute the PCC in such a way that it gives representations to all factions.
* Senior party leaders, including Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, are believed to be in favour of Phool Chand Mullana continuing as the Haryana Congress president despite completing two terms
* At the same time, on the pattern of Punjab, the PCC may get a few vice-presidents, representing various Congress factions with a “please-all” approach