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Haryana

Congress May Field Ex-CM Hooda, Sitting MLAs to Counter BJP Campaign

March 21, 2019 07:11 AM

COURTESY ET MARCH 21

AIMS AT WINNING JAT-BELT CONSTITUENCIES
Congress May Field Ex-CM Hooda, Sitting MLAs to Counter BJP Campaign
Parshant.Krar@timesgroup.com

Chandigarh:

The Congress in Haryana may field former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and a few sitting MLAs in the Lok Sabha elections, to counter an upper hand gained by the BJP in campaigning following the Balakot strike.


Leaders of the opposition party are also of the opinion that the results of the parliamentary elections would have a deep impact on the assembly polls, which are due later this year.

The party has yet to announce any names for the LS polls. It is expected to name three to four prominent MLAs as candidates, party insiders said. The Congress high command has indicated that prominent MLAs must contest the Lok Sabha polls, they said.

The Congress, hit by rebellion and poll debacles in recently held municipal council elections and the Jind bypoll that it lost to the BJP, is expected to field Hooda from Sonepat, a known Jat stronghold. The party is likely to nominate former finance minister Ajay Singh Yadav from Gurgaon against BJP’s sitting MP Rao Inderjit Singh. Legislative party leader Kiran Choudhary is also among the MLAs who could contest the LS polls.

The party feels that it needs to hold the fort in the Jat belt constituencies where the BJP lacks prominent faces from the community. The presence of Hooda, considered to be the tallest Jat leader within the Congress in Haryana, is being seen as the party’s effort to ensure its stronghold on the Jat belt districts of Rohtak, Sonepat and Sirsa remains intact.

Even though the BJP had won an emphatic victory in the last general elections and a clear majority later in the assembly elections, the success had been checked in the Jat belt districts in the assembly polls. But now, “the surgical strike post Pulwama has certainly given momentum to the BJP in the ongoing campaign in Haryana”, a former Congress minister said.

The party feels that the entry of its top leader in the fray would pump up its election campaign that has lacked the vigour so far.

“Hooda is obviously the strongest candidate who holds sway in the constituency,” former Congress candidate from Sonepat, Jagbir Singh Malik, said. The party feels that the BJP lacked stalwarts in the Jat community, especially with union minister Birender Singh having announced his decision not to contest.

 

 
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