CHANDIGARH/NEW DELHI: Sulking two-time former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda on Sunday raised the banner of revolt within the Congress by launching a broadside against the state unit, making it Sonia Gandhi’s first big test to keep the party intact after taking over as its interim president recently.
Hooda though stopped short of resigning from the party. He hailed the Centre’s move to nullify Article 370 in J&K, claimed the Congress had lost its way and formed a 25-member committee to decide his future course of action.
As many as 12 of the party’s 15 MLAs in Haryana are part of the panel, indicating Hooda’s clout.
Also, over 60 former MPs and MLAs attended the rally, which is bad news for the Congress as Assembly elections are hardly a month away.
There is a strong buzz that Hooda may quit Congress soon and float his own party.
In Delhi, the revolt was seen as a pressure tactic to force Sonia to sack state party chief Ashok Tanwar, who is close to Rahul Gandhi.
According to party sources, Sonia is expected to take a call on the constitution of committees for Assembly elections in Haryana after August 20.
At the rally, Hooda declared himself the chief ministerial candidate and even talked about a manifesto with sops for various sections of the society.
“I support the Centre’s decision to abrogate Article 370. When the government does something right I support them. Many of my colleagues opposed this decision on Article 370, but my party has lost its way. It’s not the same Congress that it used to be. When it comes to patriotism and self-respect I will not compromise with anyone,’’ he said.