Selja may replace Hooda in Haryana


Kumari Selja

The 47-year-old minister on Friday met Congress president Sonia Gandhi twice, fuelling speculation that the party high command may consider her for the top post in the state.

While Selja, who has been opposed to Hooda for long, met Sonia alone in the morning, she called on her party president in the evening along with Kiran Chowdhary and Capt Ajay Yadav, both seen as rebel leaders.

Party sources said the trio put up a united front, saying Selja should be made the next chief minister.

The Union minister is known to be close to Sonia – it was she who used to accompany the party chief on the latter’s election campaigns.

Surprise move

Also, in a surprise move, she was made the Cabinet minister in the Manmohan Singh Government in May this year after the Lok Sabha polls. This, it was said, was at the behest of Sonia.

The Congress emerged as the single largest party, winning 40 of the 90 seats, falling short of majority by 6 seats. The party, in the process, lost 27 seats of the total 67 it won in the 2005 elections.

The high command is likely to mull over the Haryana headache in the next couple of days before arriving at a decision.

The future of Hooda retaining the chief ministership also depends on a possible support that the Congress may take from the Haryana Janhit Party of Kuldeep Bishnoi, son of former chief minister Bhajan Lal, a bitter rival of Hooda.

While the Congress is confident of securing the support of seven independents, support from Bishnoi would mean the end of the road for Hooda. Lal blames Hooda for the Congress ignoring him for the chief minister’s post in 2005 when the party returned with an impressive figure — when Lal was the PCC president.

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