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Cong picks Hooda’s rivals to head poll panel
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 23
In a bid to keep its flock together ahead of the Assembly elections in Haryana, the Congress today handpicked Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda’s rivals Capt Ajay Yadav and Kiran Choudhry to head the election campaign committee for the state.

The party named the CM and Haryana Congress chief Ashok Tanwar as mere members of the 43-member panel.

Unlike past
To quell rebellion, the party ducks past practice of naming the CM as campaign committee head
The decision raises questions on Hooda's future role
Party leaders say the move is an effort to placate the rivals ahead of the Assembly polls

Cong kicks off poll campaign from Panipat today

The Congress will kickstart its campaign for the Haryana Assembly elections with its proposed state-level “Vijay Sankalp” rally in Panipat on Sunday. CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda’s political adviser Prof Birinder Singh said arrangements had been made and the rally would be a historic event. Hooda will be the chief guest.

Former Lok Sabha MP from Kurukshetra Naveen Jindal was appointed the chairman of the nine-member Haryana Pradesh Publicity and Publication Committee with Ajay Sharma as the convener. The CM’s son and Rohtak MP Deepender Hooda was appointed as a member of the panel.

The decisions followed days of hectic deliberations within the Congress on ways of striking the much-needed balance in Haryana’s poll-related committees to prevent any further breaking of ranks. The party has already suffered desertions of leaders such as Birender Singh, former member of the Congress Working Committee, Avtar Bhadana, former Faridabad MP, and Jagdish Nehra, former minister in the state.

To quell further rebellion, party president Sonia Gandhi today appointed Haryana ministers Capt Ajay Yadav and Kiran Choudhry as chairperson and co-chairperson, respectively of the state’s election campaign committee. But the decision raised questions on the future role of Hooda, who has in the past survived many attempts at a coup within the party in the state.

Normally, the practice has been to have the CM (where there is one) and the Congress legislature party leader (where the party is not in power) as the leader of the state election campaign committee. Leader of the campaign committee is, in the Congress, normally seen as the future CM candidate.

Asked if Haryana campaign committee appointments meant that Hooda was out of the race for the CM’s post if the Congress cruised to power, a party insider said: “Exceptions can always be made. There can be no easy conclusions in respect of Haryana where we have had a 10-year rule under the incumbent CM.”

Those on the Haryana Congress campaign committee are: Chairman: Ajay Yadav; co-chairperson: Kiran Choudhry, convener: Dilu Ram Bazigar, members: Ashok Tanwar; Bhupinder Singh Hooda; Kumari Selja; Phool Chand Mullana; HS Chattha; Kuldeep Sharma; Ram Prakash; Naveen Jindal; Jai Prakash, Randeep Surjewala; Aftab Ahmed; Mahendra Pratap; Chakravorthy Sharma; AC Chaudhary, Meena Mandal, Anita Yadav, Shadi Lal Batra, Deepender Hooda; Shruti Chaudhary; Jitender Malik; Paramvir Singh; Ranveer Mahindra; Anil Dhantori; Pradeep Zaildar; Satinder Rana; Ajay Sharma; Satwinder Timmi; Sanjay Chokkar; Jaiveer Balmiki; Dharamveer Gaba; Geeta Bhukkal; Rao Dharampal; Kailaso Saini; Nirmal Singh; Amit Yadav; Asha Sharma; Virender Rathore; Ranjit Singh; JP Nagar; Rajrani Poonam. Publicity committee: Chairman: Naveen Jindal; convener: Ajay Sharma.





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