Congress dumps Chander Mohan, names 68 Haryana candidates

Chandigarh, Sep 23 (IANS) With just 48 hours to go before the deadline for filing nominations, Haryana’s ruling Congress Wednesday announced its first list of 68 candidates for elections to the 90-member state assembly.

The party ignored the claim of former deputy chief minister and four-time legislator from Kalka, Chander Mohan. Twenty-two candidates are yet to be announced.

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Chander Mohan had got embroiled in a controversy in December last year by changing his religion to Islam, his name to Chand Mohammed and marrying lawyer Anuradha Bali aka Fiza.

Though Chander Mohan recently reverted to being a Hindu, ‘divorced’ Fiza and sought Congress ticket, he was ignored from the two seats – Kalka and Panchkula – he had sought.

Elections to the state assembly will take place Oct 13.

Prominent names in the list include Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda (Garhi-Sampla-Kiloi), Finance Minister Birender Singh (Uchana Kalan), Forest and Tourism Minister Kiran Chaudhary (Tosham) and state Congress president Phool Chand Mullana (Mullana-reserved).

The last date for filing of nominations is Friday.

The Hooda government got the assembly dissolved in August, seven months ahead of the end of its term.

The Congress won nine of the state’s 10 Lok Sabha seats in May – a reason for the party to seek early polls for the assembly.

Power Minister Randeep Singh Surjewala, whose earlier constituency of Narwana has been reserved this time due to de-limitation, will now contest from the neighbouring seat of Kaithal.

The Kaithal seat was earlier represented by his father and senior Congress leader Shamsher Singh Surjewala. The senior Surjewala has expressed his desire to shift to national politics.

Hooda’s close aide K.V. Singh has been fielded from Dabwali seat against Ajay Singh Chautala of the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD).

Finance Minister Birender Singh (Uchana Kalan) will have a tough contest with INLD president Om Prakash Chautala pitted against him. Chautala is also contesting the Ellenabad seat in Sirsa district.

The list of Congress candidates includes names of several close to Chief Minister Hooda.