Congress gets Independents support to form Haryana government


Chandigarh: The Congress party Friday staked its claim to form the government in Haryana after getting the support of all seven Independent legislators, giving it the required majority in the 90-member assembly, Congress legislators in the evening left the chief minister’s choice to party president Sonia Gandhi.

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The Congress, which emerged as the single largest party in a hung assembly with 40 seats, needed six legislators to tote up simple majority in the house. All seven Independent candidates Friday resolved to support the Congress in formation of the new government.

The Congress Legislature Party authorised Sonia Gandhi to decide the leader of the party in the new assembly. The CLP leader selected by her will be the next chief minister.

Central observers, union minister Prithviraj Chauhan and Mohsina Kidwai met Congress legislators here for over two hours before an unanimous resolution was moved to authorize Sonia Gandhi to name the new leader.

Earlier, the Independents gave their letters of support to the Congress and later met Haryana Governor Jagannath Pahadia to reiterate their support.

“They have offered unconditional support to the Congress,” state Power Minister Randeep Singh Surjewala told the media here.

The Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC), led by former chief minister Bhajan Lal and his son Kuldeep Bishnoi, both of whom were Congressmen till two years ago, also said Friday it would be part of the new government.

“People have elected us with expectations that we will deliver. We will be part of the new government,” HJC president Kuldeep Bishnoi told the media in New Delhi, without specifying if he would support the Congress government.

The HJC has six legislators in the new assembly.

Political developments continued through the day in New Delhi and Chandigarh as the Congress leaders remained busy trying to get the numbers to form the government.

State Congress president Phool Chand Mullana met the governor Friday to stake the party’s claim to form the new government.

“The Congress is the single largest party in the assembly. Precedent says that we should be invited to form the government. We have the numbers in the assembly,” Mullana told reporters after meeting the governor.

Opposition Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) leader Om Prakash Chautala, whose party bagged 31 seats, accused the Congress of ‘horse-trading’ (corruption) and urged the governor not to invite it to form the government. He said the people had voted for 50 non-Congress legislators in the 90-member assembly.

Caretaker Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda remained confident that the Congress would form the next government.

“We will form the government,” Hooda said.

The Congress tally was much lower than its expectation of a comfortable majority and 27 seats less than the 67 it won in the February 2005 assembly poll.