DELHI: Former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda Sunday sent a strong message to the Congress and also kept a window open to bargain his demands for being the face of party in the upcoming Assembly elections. He also wants a free hand to call the shots.
Hooda has constantly raised the issue of Haryana Congress chief Ashok Tanwar’s removal with the party high command. He has not been successful so far as Tanwar is close to former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi.
There was speculation that Hooda may announce his regional faction at Sunday’s rally in Rohtak. He criticised the Congress but stopped short of quitting.
According to party sources, the former Haryana chief minister has been told by his team that leaving the party just before the election may not help him. “His announcement of constituting a 25-member committee to decide the future course of action is a move to pressurise the Congress to adhere to his demands,” said a senior Congress leader in Haryana, who did not want to be named.
The leader added that if Hooda wanted to form a separate party, he would have announced it at the rally.
Differences between Hooda and Tanwar is common knowledge and all eyes will now be on which faction wins based on decisions taken by the party high command.
“It is an open rebellion by Hooda and his statements criticising the party would not earn him anything now. His rally was being talked about as people expected him to announce a new party, but now we know it was just a pressure tactic. He didn’t have the guts to leave the party and now he should abide by the rules,” said a top leader from Haryana.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi is expected to take decisions on various election-related committees in the state soon.