Chaudhary discusses new Haryana chief with Sonia

Bhupinder Singh Hooda

New Delhi:A day after former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda met Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi, Congress Legislature Party (CLP) chief Kiran Chaudhary met the UPA chairperson on Friday to discuss the issue of choosing a new state chief ahead of Assembly polls in the state.

Chaudhary arrived at the residence of Sonia Gandhi around 12.30 p.m. The meeting between the two leaders lasted for over 45 minutes.

After the meeting, Chaudhary said, “We discussed organisational issues. I raised the issues of the state with her and also the matter of the new Haryana party chief was discussed.”

On Thursday, Hooda along with Haryana party in-charge Ghulam Nabi Azad met Sonia Gandhi at her residence almost a week after the former Haryana Chief Minister addressed a mega rally in the state.

A Congress leader said that several rounds of meetings of many senior leaders with Sonia Gandhi have been held in the last few days to decide on the new state unit chief in Haryana.

“A decision on the new state unit chief is likely to be announced in the coming two to three days,” he said.

He said following the differences between Tanwar and Hooda, the party may replace the former with a new leader.

Hooda, while addressing a mega rally in Haryana’s Rohtak on August 18, had cautioned the party and also supported the Modi government’s move to abrogate Article 370 of the Constitution.

Hooda had also announced a 25-member panel, comprising 13 MLAs owing allegiance to him, to decide the future of the party in the state. “Since the issue (to continue with the Congress or not) pertains to the future of the people, I can’t take the decision alone,” Hooda said.

The decision of the 25-member committee “will later be announced in Chandigarh,” he said.

It was a clear signal to the central Congress leadership to hand over the party’s reins in the state to Hooda, or else he would go his own way ahead of the Assembly polls slated for later this year.

Speculation was rife that two-time Chief Minister Hooda and his son Deepender Hooda, also a former MP, might quit the Congress after alleging that he was sidelined by the party high command.

On August 17, a day before the mega rally, Hooda had a closed-door meeting with top Congress leaders in New Delhi during which they tried to convince him not to take any hasty decision to quit the party as it had always accorded him due importance.

In the 2014 state polls, the BJP improved its 2009 tally of four to 47, followed by the INLD with 19 legislators and the Congress came third with 15 seats.

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