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Bhupinder Hooda backs Article 370’s abrogation, puts Congress on notice

Rohtak (Haryana), Aug 18, 2019-

In a significant political move, senior Congress leader and two-time Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, here on Sunday, supported the Narendra Modi government’s move to abrogate Article 370 of the Constitution.

Addressing a ‘Mahaparivartan Rally’ in his hometown, Hooda said he would not compromise with anyone on the issue of patriotism. “When the government does something right, I support it”, he said.

He 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 people, I can’t take the decision alone,” he said.

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

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

Speculations were rife that Hooda and his son Deepender Singh Hooda, former MP, might quit the Congress after they said they were sidelined by the party high command. They may either join Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) or float their own outfit.

A day earlier, 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 the due importance.

While Haryana’s main opposition — the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) — has seen most of its legislators and leaders joining the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), infighting continues to dog the Congress.

In the absence of any political direction and agenda, the Congress workers were disillusioned, said a former Congress Minister.

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

Two seats went to the Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC), and one each to the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP). Five Independents were also elected.  (Agency)

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