New Delhi, April 27
Former four-time MLA Udai Bhan was on Wednesday appointed president of the Haryana Congress after days of deliberations on caste and factional balancing in the state where the party will face the ruling BJP and fledgling AAP in the 2024 Assembly elections.
Bhan is a loyalist of former CM Bhupinder Hooda. A senior SC leader who has thrice represented the Hodal reserved segment, Bhan will replace Kumari Selja, another tall SC leader.
Hooda stamp evident
- Former CM Bhupinder Hooda stays CLP leader
- Sources say he will lead party in 2024 Assembly poll
- Cong has made four working chiefs — Shruti Choudhry, Ram Kishan Gujjar, Jitender Bhardwaj and Suresh Gupta
- Three of them are considered close to ex-CM Hooda
AICC chief Sonia Gandhi also named four working presidents, including former MP Shruti Choudhry, daughter of ex-CLP leader Kiran Choudhry; Ram Kishan Gujjar, Jitender Bhardwaj and Suresh Gupta. Gujjar, Bhardwaj and Gupta are considered close to Hooda.
Hooda stays the Congress Legislature Party chief. With the former CM’s stamp writ large on the revamp, AICC sources said he would effectively lead the party in the next elections and work with Bhan to reorganise it. The state unit has been in a limbo since 2014, when its then chief Ashok Tanwar dissolved block and district units, which have not been reconstituted since.
State overhaul down to the booth level will be Bhan’s top priority. He was first elected MLA from Hasanpur on the ticket of Lok Dal (Bahuguna). He won the Assembly polls in 2000 as an Independent and in 2005 and 2010 as a Congress candidate.
“Grateful to the party chief Sonia Gandhi for the appointments. The decision will strengthen the state Congress,” Hooda said in a tweet. He also posted a picture featuring Bhan with himself and Rajya Sabha MP Deepender Hooda.
Selja also congratulated the new team, saying, “I have full faith that the Congress, under the leadership of the newly appointed team, will play the role of an effective opposition and articulate the voice of people.” Bhan is the fourth SC Haryana Congress chief in recent times after Phool Chand Mullana, Tanwar and Selja. The party settled for a non-Jat to strike a balance since Hooda is already leader of the CLP.
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