The victory of Subhash Chandra as an independent candidate in the biennial poll to the Rajya Sabha from Haryana has brought out severe several chinks in the Congress armour in the state. As many as 14 Congress MLAs voted in a manner that their candidate R K Anand suffered drubbing in the poll, while Chandra with the BJP support emerged victorious. Everybody was expecting that he would lose to Anand, but he proved others wrong. Most of the top Congress leaders were present when the voting took place in the state Assembly on June 12.
From former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda to Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee (HPCC) chief Dr Ashok Tanwar, everybody was there to ensure nothing goes wrong but in vain. They only proved the proverbial fact that too many cooks spoil the broth. Most of Congress MLAs ‘opted for making mistakes’ while casting their votes, which only proves beyond any doubt that all is not well within the Congress in the state. Things are worsening day by day for the party which ruled the state for nearly 10 years at a stretch. The party high command was not able to reach a consensus over whom the party wanted to support—R K Anand or Chandra.
Chandra could not have been the choice as he is a known BJP man. Anand was initially INLD’s candidate and later on become the Congress candidate too with the hope that this would heavily tilt the scale in his favour, but things went wrong for him like anything as the Congress leadership could not ensure that the party MLAs vote properly. Most of the Congress MLAs are believed to have participated in the RS poll many times. They are quite familiar with the procedures like from using the pen to taking other precautions while casting their votes in the high profile poll. They also know how a vote gets invalid and what the repercussion is of indulging in the act of cross-voting, which is nothing but an act of indiscipline.
As many as 14 Congress votes were rejected as the MLAs concerned registered their votes with a pen other than the one provided by the Returning Officer (RO), as has been claimed by the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), which has been rejected by the Congress leader. This is ‘a wild allegation’ levelled by the INLD—said former Speaker and Congress leader Kuldeep Sharma. The Congress must find out how 14 MLAs’ vote turned ‘irrelevant’ only to catapult BJP backed Chandra to victory. Similarly, the BJP claimed that Congress’ Randeep Singh Surjewala showed his ballot to the CLP leader Kiran Choudhry. Haryana Assembly has 90 members. Out of 90 votes, Union Minister Birender Singh got 40, R K Anand 21 and Chandra got 15 votes while 14 votes were rejected.
Therefore, in case of rejection of 14 votes, Singh needed 26 votes for his win and his 14 votes as second preference were transferred to Chandra, taking his total number of votes to 29, saw him winning the poll. It is being claimed that the entire episode was a clear case of sabotage by MLAs owing allegiance to a senior Congress leader. It is also being claimed that one of the ballots was blank, while 12 others were marked by a wrong writing instrument. Needless to say the RS poll in Haryana has unfolded the possibility of a new kind of realignment.
Congress and INLD agreed to vote for Anand, which is a significant political development. Chandra termed the biennial poll a fight between BJP and the rest. After the results were declared, Chandra spoke to media persons where he pointed out that ‘the Congress, which until yesterday had not made its stand clear, suddenly decided to back Anand. We will know the reasons in days to come how these two parties–the Congress and INLD, which do not see eye to eye, suddenly decided to join hands.’ Chandra’s observations need to be taken seriously. It is not that the Congress and the INLD will join hands against the BJP, but the possibility of the birth of a new regional outfit in Haryana cannot be ruled out.
A very senior Congress leader in Haryana is feeling suffocated and can do what Bhajan Lal and Chaudhary Bansi Lal did but only to return to the Congress in due course of time. Recently Bhajan Lal’s son and MLA Kuldeep Bishnoi merged his—Haryana Janhit Congress—with the Congress, while Bansi Lal’s daughter Kiran Chaudhary is the Leader of Congress Legislature Party (CLP) in the Haryana Assembly. Many do admit that politics is a game of possibilities where no one is either enemy or friend for ever. One loves to change his side in politics if doing so gets his power, pelf and position. Union Minister Chaudhary Birender Singh left the Congress after being there for decades only to become a Union Minister in the BJP government headed by Narendra Modi on whom he would have taken umpteen times while Singh was in the Congress.
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