Amid infighting, Haryana Congress to capitalise on Wrestlers’ protest to corner BJPtext_fields
Chandigarh: The Congress wants to step up its opposition to the BJP and Jannayak Janta Party (JJP) alliance government as the wrestlers' protest picks up momentum. Internal strife inside the state unit, however, is a significant roadblock to moving forward.
Bhupinder Singh Hooda, the leader of the opposition, called a Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meeting in Chandigarh on Wednesday to put an end to internal strife and plan for the next Lok Sabha elections. Randeep Singh Surjewala and Kiran Choudhry, two of Hooda's detractors, were reportedly invited to the meeting, according to party officials, but Surjewala is now abroad and won't return to India until after June 3, while Choudhry is unlikely to attend. The wrestlers who were protesting at Jantar Mantar were visited by the five-time MLA, Indian Express reported.
The CLP meeting on Wednesday would be presided over by Hooda at the party office rather than his official residence as in the past. According to party sources, the high command of the Congress made the effort to put an end to the infighting after the party's victory in Karnataka, where there were tensions between Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Deputy CM D K Shivakumar.
A senior Congress leader expressed confidence that the party will be able to resolve the disputes in Haryana and highlighted the cases of Karnataka and Rajasthan in support of his claims. “The party high command was able to successfully bridge the differences between both the leaders (in Karnataka). Both have been given specific responsibilities in the government with the sole aim of serving the people of the state. The Congress has got a mandate and shall fulfil all its commitments. Similarly, the party has also been able to defuse tensions between Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot in Rajasthan and ensure the party poses a united face in the run-up to the Assembly polls in Rajasthan. Haryana will also be no exception. The party will fight unitedly here too and ensure the BJP-JJP coalition is unseated,” the party functionary said.
But not all in the state unit are convinced and pointed out the problems plaguing the state unit. “It is for the party high command to see and address the issues in the state unit. The party’s ground-level cadre has yet not been built. Although the party announced a list of 195 delegates who voted in the election for the national president last year, that list invited sharp criticism from several leaders who claimed they were not given due importance and their supporters were left in disarray,” said a leader.
The Congress party is pushing hard to get its act together because it wants to fully capitalise on the mounting resentment towards the BJP following the protests.
Bhupinder Singh Hooda told The Indian Express over the phone, “The Union government must ensure that justice is given to the sportspersons who have been subjected to such ill-treatment for these many days. They are the ones who have brought honour to our entire nation. But, I am completely surprised at the role of the Haryana government. What is the BJP leadership of the state doing? All these players who are sitting on the road seeking justice belong to our Haryana. The least, state leadership should have done was to act as a mediator and ensured that their (sportspersons) voices get heard and they get justice. On the contrary, we, the entire CLP, went to Jantar Mantar and expressed our solidarity with our daughters.”
Hooda announced that Shaktisinh Gohil, the AICC's representative for Haryana, will attend the CLP meeting. Along with opposition parties, farmers' organisations from Punjab and Haryana as well as khap bodies from Haryana have backed the wrestlers. On June 1, farmers' organisations in Punjab have called for widespread protests, and three days later, farmers' organisations and the khaps will organise a mahapanchayat in Gohana.