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Congress expels Haryana MLA Kuldeep Bishnoi from all-party positions for cross-voting – Mrit News

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Bhupinder Singh Hooda fails to deliver Haryana but Ashok Gehlot consolidates his position with an emphatic win in Rajasthan.

Bhupinder Singh Hooda fails to deliver Haryana but Ashok Gehlot consolidates his position with an emphatic win in Rajasthan.

Haryana Congress leader, Kuldeep Bishnoi, whose vote in favour of BJP-backed independent candidate Kartikeya Sharma led to the shocking defeat of party nominee Ajay Maken, has been removed from all party positions, including that of being a special invitee to the Congress Working Committee (CWC).

Congress chief Sonia Gandhi’s decision will apply with immediate effect, party general secretary (organisation), K C Venugopal, said is in a statement on Saturday.

The party could also write to the Assembly Speaker to cancel his membership, sources added.

“I have the talent to crush a snake’s fangs, one should not leave the jungle for the fear of snakes,” a defiant Mr Bishnoi had tweeted on Saturday morning.

The defeat of Mr Maken, however, puts the spotlight back on the faction-ridden Haryana state unit while an emphatic win in Rajasthan consolidated Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s position in the on-going leadership with Sachin Pilot.

In Haryana, the embarrassing episode exposed the fault lines in the Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) that has been a battleground for three powerful political families: the Hoodas, late Bansi Lal family and that of late Bhajan Lal, whose son is Kuldeep Bishnoi.

While Mr Bishnoi’s defiance, after being ignored for the PCC chief as a non-Jat leader, reduced Congress tally to 30, the party could have still won if another vote was not disqualified.

With both the Congress nominee and the independent candidate getting equal number of votes, second preference votes of BJP MLAs in favour of Mr Sharma sealed Mr Maken’s fate.

“BJP had 40 MLAs, Congress 31 MLAs, 10 JJP [Jannayak Janata Party] MLAs, independents and candidates of some other parties. One candidate abstained and one Congress MLA’s vote was rejected. So, there were a total of 88 votes polled. Those who got one-third votes or 29.34 votes won. Both our candidates combining first preference and second preference won but the Congress candidate got only 29 votes,”Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar explained the poll math.

The Congress didn’t formally name which MLA’s vote was disqualified but with speculation about Kiran Choudhry, the former leader of Congress Legislature Party (CLP) whose rivalry with former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda is well known, gaining ground, Ms Choudhry issued a denial.

“This is absolutely false, preposterous and a malicious propaganda aimed at tarnishing my reputation,”tweeted Ms Choudhry, daughter-in-law of Bansi Lal, who also added that she will take legal against those who spread this canard.

Many in the party also questioned the High Command’s decision to ‘outsource’ election management to Mr Hooda, who not too long ago was with the G-23 reformist groups that stood up against the Gandhis.

“Everyone in Haryana knows the proximity between Venod Sharma [Kartikeya Sharma’s father] and Hooda. Why could he not persuade Sharma to sit out this election,”asked a senior party leader.

While the Congress under Mr Hooda couldn’t manage a win despite having the numbers, admirers of Mr Gehlot talked about him being a ‘magician’ to secure a win for all the three candidates in spite of being dependent on outside support.

The result of the Rajya Sabha polls is certain to consolidate Mr Gehlot’s standing in the leadership tussle with Mr Pilot, his former deputy.

Supporters of Mr Pilot, however, argued such results were possible as Rajasthan PCC witnessed a rare show of unity between the Gehlot and Pilot camps.

As the next Assembly elections are only 15-16 months away, they argue, the central leadership should take a call on his [Mr Pilot’s] claim to the chief minister’s position now.

(Inputs Vikas Vasudeva in Chandigarh)


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