B.S. Hooda (left) and Ashok Tanwar (Right)
Maintaining that the larger objective was to ensure the Congress’s victory in the next Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha polls, Haryana Congress chief Ashok Tanwar Monday said that he does not have enmity with anyone and was ready to bury the hatchet with his bete noire Bhupinder Singh Hooda.
“Our first priority is to throw out the BJP government. We are all working with the single aim of winning the next Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha elections,” Tanwar told reporters in Chandigarh.
When asked about differences between him and former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda were well known and would he be ready to bury the hatchet with him, Tanwar replied, “I am for resolving those issues”.
Asked if the differences with Hooda were personal or political, Tanwar said, “Differences at some stage turned personal from political. However, I still say that in the interest of the party, I am for resolving the issues.”
“I don’t have enmity with anyone. To bury hatchet is in the larger interest of the party, those issues will be resolved and I am for resolving those issues,” he said.
Tanwar said “there was some bad blood”, especially after the assault on him during a Congress rally in October 2016 in Delhi, but he decided to move on. “..Time is a great healer,” he added.
He also said that the party leadership had tried in the past to remove differences between him and Hooda.
When asked what was the outcome of those efforts, Tanwar said, “Few things are internal, and I must not open those things. But there are many things you are aware of.”
Notably, Tanwar, a Dalit leader, and Hooda, a two-time former chief minister and an upper caste Jat, do not see eye-to-eye on most matters. Congress chief Rahul Gandhi has asked Tanwar to stay put and on Monday the state Congress chief said that he would continue heading the Haryana unit till the time he is asked to do so.
The Haryana Congress leader also took exception to Hooda organising a ‘Rath Yatra’ in the state without taking the state unit chief into confidence.
“If anyone is holding a programme, the PCC is intimated and can extend its help to make the event a success. But if anyone thinks he is bigger than the organisation and there is no need to inform, then that is a choice of that person,” he said, adding he was not informed about Hooda’s Rath Yatra.
When asked if groupism within the Haryana Congress would affect the party as polls were nearing, he said, “Differences of opinion can be there, which are there in any party, but everyone is moving with the aim of making the party strong.”
“Every Congressman is working hard to ensure that the party wins the next Lok Sabha elections and everyone wants to see Rahul Gandhi as the next prime minister,” he said. Tanwar said that people were eagerly waiting to teach the BJP a lesson.
He claimed that the BJP would not be able to win even a single of the 10 Lok Sabha seats in Haryana and not more than 4-5 seats in the 90-member state Assembly polls.
Replying to a question, he said that it was not necessary that the Congress should project a chief ministerial face in the next state Assembly polls.
“The primary aim is to win the elections, these things can be decided later on,” he said.
Tanwar, a former MP from Sirsa, also said that if he was asked to contest the next Lok Sabha or state Assembly polls, he was ready to fight from any constituency in the state whichever the party decides.
The winnability criteria would apply to all the 17 sitting MLAs of the Congress in Haryana during the distribution of tickets, he said replying to a question.
To another question, he said, the INLD-BSP alliance would not have any impact while the AAP has already been rejected by the people of the state in the previous Lok Sabha polls.