Independents, HJC hold key for Congress rule in Haryana


Chandigarh: Faced with a situation of not getting a majority on its own in the Haryana assembly poll Thursday, the Congress party in the state is trying to woo seven Independents who won the election.

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Congress sources told IANS that senior party leaders were already in touch with at least five of these Independents to ensure that the party forms the next government in Haryana.

Though the Congress emerged as the single largest party with 40 legislators in the 90-member assembly, it is still six short of the figure of 46 required for simple majority in the house.

The Independents include Sukhbeer Singh (Gurgaon), Sultan Singh (Pundri), Shiv Charan Tejpal (Faridabad NIT), Prahlad Singh (Fatehabad), Jaleb Khan (Hathin), Gopal Kanda (Sirsa) and Om Prakash Jain (Panipat-rural).

Some of these winners are rebel candidates of the Congress and the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD).

“The Congress will form the next government in Haryana. We will create history with a repeat government,” Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda said, trying to sound optimistic about a Congress government formation.

Congress leaders indicated that the party could also look for an arrangement with the Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC) of former chief minister Bhajan Lal and his son Kuldeep Bishnoi. The HJC could play kingmaker with its six legislators.

But indications from Bishnoi, who, even as a Congress MP, used to be highly critical of Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Hooda, suggest that he is unlikely to support any Congress government, especially the one headed by Hooda.

Bhajan Lal’s elder son and Bishnoi’s brother, Chander Mohan, was deputy chief minister in the Hooda government for nearly four years till Dec 2008 when the controversy over his marriage with Fiza aka Anuradha Bali cost him the high-profile job.

Union minister Kumari Selja and flamboyant Forests and Tourism Minister Kiran Chaudhary, who are not on best of terms with Hooda, could gun for him as the Congress tries to form a government in Haryana.

“The Congress high command will decide the next course for government formation. The Congress will form the next government in the state,” Selja said in New Delhi.

On the other side, the INLD and its alliance partner Akali Dal returned with 32 seats.

The BJP, which has ties with both parties as partners in the National Democratic Alliance, has four seats in the assembly and could join them. But that will not enable them to stake claim to form the government in the state as the group would still be short of 10 legislators.