Fac­tional fight in Cong heats up as Tanwar quits

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times City - NEWS NET­WORK

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New Delhi: Former Haryana PCC chief Ashok Tanwar’s public re­volt over be­ing side­lined cul­mi­nated on Satur­day with the Dalit leader quit­ting the party, as a fac­tion-rid­den Con­gress’ trou­bles in poll-bound Haryana and Ma­ha­rash­tra deep­ened with se­nior party lead­ers de­fy­ing the lead­er­ship.

Fol­low­ing a spate of protests and al­le­ga­tions of cor­rup­tion in ticket dis­tri­bu­tion, Tanwar quit Con­gress, at­tribut­ing his de­par­ture to a deep cri­sis in the party trig­gered by in­ter­nal con­tra­dic­tions and war­ring fac­tions rather than po­lit­i­cal op­po­nents. Tanwar lashed out at Haryana in-charge Ghu­lam Nabi Azad and former CM Bhupin­der Hooda for “de­struc­tion” of the party and al­leged that Azad had given tick­ets to “de­fec­tors and non-Con­gress­men”.

“In the last few years, nu­mer­ous con­spir­a­cies are be­ing hatched to elim­i­nate those young lead­ers who have been groomed by Rahul Gandhi in the last one-and-ahalf decades. Un­for­tu­nately, most vic­tims of this con­spir­acy may not have the courage to stand up, but I think it is my moral and po­lit­i­cal duty to re­sist, op­pose and ex­pose this on­slaught,” he wrote in his let­ter to Con­gress chief So­nia Gandhi.

Former Ma­ha­rash­tra Con­gress chief San­jay Niru­pam has also claimed that Rahul’s nom­i­nees were be­ing side­lined. He has pulled out of the cam­paign al­leg­ing that AICC gen­eral sec­re­tary Mal­likar­jun Kharge had turned a blind eye to his sug­ges­tions on ticket dis­tri­bu­tion. He was him­self keen to con­test. In turn, Con­gress ac­cused Niru­pam of speak­ing up only when his can­di­dates did not make the cut.

The trou­ble has laid bare a old and new guard di­vide. Tanwar and Niru­pam were seen as Rahul Gandhi’s choices, while se­nior lead­ers who have worked with So­nia Gandhi are seen to be more com­fort­able with the ap­point­ment of former min­is­ter Selja as Haryana PCC chief and Hooda as head of cam­paign.

Hooda ap­pears prac­ti­cally in con­trol of party mat­ters af­ter bury­ing the hatchet with Selja. “The lead­er­ship knows this elec­tion is not go­ing to yield much for Con­gress. So, Hooda is re­ward­ing loy­alty and sin­gling out those who worked against him,” a se­nior leader up­set with can­di­date se­lec­tion said.

The state lead­er­ship claimed it is un­fazed by Tanwar’s res­ig­na­tion. “I’ve al­ways said or­gan­i­sa­tion is big­ger than in­di­vid­u­als and while in­di­vid­u­als come and go, or­gan­i­sa­tion stays. If Tanwar has de­cided to quit, it is his call,” Selja said.

The chaos caused by the in­ter­nal power strug­gles, how­ever, have fur­ther dimmed Con­gress’ al­ready bleak prospects in the 90-seater Haryana assem­bly, where alliance talks have come a crop­per and party lead­ers have turned rebel af­ter be­ing de­nied tick­ets.

Di­nesh Joshi

Haryana Con­gress ex-pres­i­dent Ashok Tanwar slammed Ghu­lam Nabi Azad and Bhupin­der Hooda for ‘de­struc­tion’ of the party

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