For Haryana Congress, it is a 'yatra' to power

Former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda too has embarked on a 'Jan Kranti Yatra' to assert his leadership in the state. (PTI File Photo)

It is a battle of yatras in Haryana as the Congress eyes a comeback in a state it ruled for a decade.

Haryana Congress president Ashok Tanwar has embarked on a cycle yatra across the state with a hope to emerge as the undisputed leader of the party ahead of Assembly elections next year.

Former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda too has embarked on a 'Jan Kranti Yatra' to assert his leadership in the state.

Another aspirant Randeep Singh Surjewala, the in-charge of the AICC communication department, has stepped up engagement by addressing rallies in his home state every weekend after discharging his duties in the national capital.

Forty-year-old Tanwar, who was chosen by Rahul Gandhi to head the party's Haryana unit, believes that it was time for other communities to lead the state. “The Dalits, oppressed and backward classes in Haryana feel that the chief minister should be from amongst them,” Tanwar told DH.

Both, Surjewala and Hooda, belong to the powerful Jat community of the state that comprises 29% of voters. However, there is considerable anger among other communities after the 10-day Jat agitation in February 2016 for their inclusion in Other Backward Classes category. The protests took a violent turn leading to the death of at least 12 people and causing huge damage to public and private property.

Tanwar, a Dalit leader who has risen from the ranks, embarked on the 'Haryana Bacaho, Parivartan Lao' cycle yatra on March 5. He hopes to cover the entire state in about 12-13 phases.

“I have completed four phases. The fifth phase will be from September 12 to 15. It will start from Faridabad and conclude at Palwal,” he said exuding confidence about the support from a cross-section of the society.

Through his bicycle rides, Tanwar believes he has posed a challenge to Hooda, who is anxious to return at the helm of affairs in the state.

“I have been receiving support even from the Jat community. A section of the Jats too is angry with Hooda and has promised to support me and my candidates,” said Tanwar, who was also the president of the Indian Youth Congress and the National Students Union of India.

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For Haryana Congress, it is a 'yatra' to power

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