Chavan will keep chair, woman CM in Haryana

Loss of 20 seats main reason behind Hoodas ouster


With the Congress returning to power along with ally NCP, it is unlikely that the party will change its CM in Maharashtra. Maharashtra is in a curious, similar scenario it was five years ago. The Congress replaced a victorious CM — current Union Minister Sushil Shinde, a Dalit in 2004!

Shinde was the CM but was shifted to Andhra Pradesh as governor (only to be brought to the Centre after two years) as Vilasrao Deshmukh was made his successor (Deshmukh had to resign in the aftermath of 26/11). The only fault of Shinde was that the Congress tally was two seats less than that of the NCP but it was politics which resulted in a Maratha succeeding him. In 2009, the Congress has returned to power with Chavan, a Maratha, as CM. Also, unlike last time, the Congress has won as many as 20 seats more than the NCP. This may rule out any change of chief ministership in the state.
However, the Haryana situation may be different. The elections, held four months ahead of schedule, have thrown up a hung House leaving Hooda’s chair shaky.
“Our overconfidence led to complacency”, a senior AICC leader involved in the Haryana elections told Deccan Herald. “We took the voters for granted and they perhaps did not like elections being advanced, going to the polls for the second time within six months of the Lok Sabha elections”.

In 2005, the Congress won 67 seats (out of 90) but lost 20 of them this time, which could be the single-most important factor that may cost Hooda his job. At the AICC on Thursday evening, no leader was prepared to say for sure that the CM will keep his chair.

Bansi’s daughter-in-law
If the Congress high command indeed decides to change the leader, there are two women who may land the job — Haryana minister Kiran Chowdhary, daughter-in-law of former CM Bansi Lal, and Union minister Selja. Chowdhary, whose husband Surinder Singh died in a helicopter crash, is a jat while Selja is a Dalit. Both are seen as rebel leaders.

However, though the Congress has not got a majority, this may not stop the party from retaining power — it is the only time in the last 37 years that any party will be returning to power in the state.

As the single largest party, the Congress is likely to be invited to form government once it stakes its claim.
Bhajan Lal, whom the Congress dumped four years ago, will be needed by the party. Lal’s six MLAs will become crucial for the Congress to bag power. Besides, four of the seven independents are said to be Congress rebels and may return to the party fold.

Chautala’s return
The Haryana story is the return of the wily Omprakash Chautala too. The son of Devi Lal has come back — when no one gave him any chance — nearly upsetting the Congress. The BJP cut ties with him just before the elections but the two together may perhaps have given the Congress a run for its money.
DH News Service

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