CHANDIGARH: Congress is facing an apparent rift within in Haryana as former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and state party chief Ashok Tanwar today held separate meetings with state leaders, although both the leaders dismissed reports of factionalism.
Hooda today held a luncheon meeting at his new official residence here which was attended by several party leaders, including all sitting 15 MLAs of the party even as state party chief Ashok Tanwar held a "review meeting" at party's headquarters at the same time.
CLP leader Kiran Choudhary and party leader Randeep Singh Surjewala were among the prominent ones who exchanged pleasantries with Hooda at his official residence, Congress sources said.
Congress had finished poor third in the recently-held assembly polls with only 15 of its MLAs returning home victorious in the 90-member assembly.
When asked, Tanwar said "he was invited for the meeting, but he couldn't attend it as he is pre-occupied with the on-going review meetings of the party."
Hooda, however, refuted it to be a "show of strength" by him while seeking to play things down saying that "it was a friendly luncheon meet."
Hooda reiterated that he didn't attended the meeting convened by Tanwar as he had already marked his presence in such meeting held by Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi.
"Congress is united in Haryana... I am a loyal soldier of the party," Hooda said.
Hooda had been backing for the name of sitting MLA and former minister Geeta Bhukkal for the post of CLP which finally went in favour of Kiran, a bete noire of the former chief minister.
Meanwhile, Tanwar along with party's co-incharge Haryana affairs Asha Kumari held brain storming sessions with some leaders and activists for the second consecutive day on the Congress drubbing in the state. The three-day session, on the directions of Rahul Gandhi, will conclude tomorrow, the party sources said.