Haryana governor likely to invite Congress to form government


Chandigarh : Haryana Governor Jagannath Pahadia is likely to invite the Congress to form the next government in the state after the party formally stakes its claim later Friday.

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As the Congress has emerged as the single largest party in the assembly after the poll results were announced Thursday, Pahadia is likely to give it time to prove its majority on the floor of the house, sources in the Haryana Raj Bhawan said.

The Congress bagged 40 seats in the state’s assembly poll, far below its confident expectations, falling short of the halfway mark in the 90-member assembly.

But with letters of support from six out of the seven independent legislators in its kitty, the Congress will stake claim before the governor to form the next government in the state.

Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda will lead the Congress delegation to the governor.

Congress sources said that six independents had already pledged their support to the party for the formation of the next government. The intentions of the seventh legislator, Prahlad Singh, were not yet known though sources said that he would go with the Congress.

The Congress high command has still not made it clear whether Hooda will again be the party’s choice for chief minister. The names of union minister Selja, Haryana Forests and Tourism Minister Kiran Chaudhary and Power Minister Randeep Surjewala are also doing the rounds for the post.

The sources said that senior Congress leaders from the state and in New Delhi were also negotiating with Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC) leaders Kuldeep Bishnoi and his father Bhajan Lal, a former Congress chief minister of the state.

The seven independents and the HJC, which has six legislators, hold the key to the formation of the next government in the state.

The HJC is unlikely to support Hooda, who had pipped Bhajan Lal to the post after the latter led the Congress to a massive win in the February 2005 assembly poll. The HJC could also seek the post of deputy chief minister for Bishnoi if both sides work out an arrangement.

The HJC is essentially a party of breakaway Congressmen in Haryana.

Main opposition party, Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) got 31 seats on its own. Its alliance partner, Shiromani Akali Dal, bagged one seat.

The Bharatiya Janata Party, which has links to both INLD and Akali Dal, with whom it runs an alliance government in neighbouring Punjab, will go with them if the need arises.

The INLD leadership is also in touch with the HJC to form a government in the state.