CHANDIGARH: Amidst fears of cross-voting in June 11 Rajya Sabha polls, the main opposition INLD in Haryana has apparently packed off most of its MLAs to the hill resort of Mussorie while other parties have gone into a huddle to chalk out their strategies.
The ruling BJP has nominated Union Minister Birender Singh for one of the two seats and he is assured of a comfortable win but a keen contest is expected for the second seat between media baron Subhash Chandra and INLD-supported lawyer R K Anand, who are fighting it out as Independent candidates.
Apprehending that some of its MLAs may not toe the party line, especially as BJP-backed Chandra had claimed support of at least two INLD MLAs, a dozen-odd legislators of the party were yesterday sent off to the hill station in Uttarakhand.
INLD has 19 MLAs in the 90-member house. While its MLAs Parminder Singh Dhull and Jaswinder Singh Sandhu have denied reports that they have gone to Mussorie, the party's Haryana unit president Ashok Arora said some other legislators have gone there "for a vacation" on their own. When asked if the move was due to fear of cross-voting by some of their MLAs, Arora said, "A few of our legislators have gone to Mussorie and will be back in Chandigarh well in time before the voting for Rajya Sabha polls on June 11. There is no fear of cross-voting. Some of our MLAs have gone there for a short vacation." Arora said the party will be supporting R K Anand. However, the lone BSP candidate from Haryana Tek Chand Sharma has announced his party's support to Chandra. "My support will be for the BJP and the candidate backed by the party," said Sharma, the MLA from Prithla. Congress, meanwhile, is yet to reveal its cards and said the future course of action for the Rajya Sabha polls will be decided at a AICC meeting on June 10. "As of today, we have not taken any decision (whether to vote or abstain). On June 10, we will decide at the AICC meeting in Delhi," former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda said.
Yesterday, Hooda and another senior leader Kuldip Bishnoi, who recently merged his HJC with Congress, had separately met Congress Vice-president Rahul Gandhi in Delhi to discuss the party’s strategy for the upcoming polls. Today, more leaders from Haryana Congress including former Assembly Speaker Kuldeep Sharma are meeting the party high command to discuss the party's strategy for the RS polls.
The entry of Subhash Chandra and R K Anand has put the Congress in a tricky situation. The party has often accused the INLD of playing second fiddle to ruling BJP and if it backs R K Anand, it will mean backing an INLD-supported candidate. If the Congress decides to abstain from the vote, it will mean letting Subhash Chandra win.
Allegations that legislators were being lured for votes have cropped up ahead of the Rajya Sabha elections in several states including a purported sting in Karnataka.