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Cong accepts Bhajan Lal resignation

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, July 3 (UNI) Congress president Sonia Gandhi today accepted the resignation of veteran party leader and former Haryana chief minister Bhajan Lal as the state party chief even though the disgruntled leader asserted that he will remain in the party and fight his battle from within.

''The resignation will take immediate effect,'' AICC spokesman Abhishek Manu Singhvi told mediapersons here.

Mr Lal put in his papers without signature by fax on July one alleging ''inaction'' of the Hooda government and protesting against the ''unacceptable treatment'' meted out to his followers in the new PCC reconstituted a week ago by the AICC.

The extreme action by the 71-year-old leader came at the end of a week-long unfructified effort to meet Ms Gandhi to personally express his displeasure over the reconstituted PCC in Haryana where the state Congress is immersed in factionalism with Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Mr Lal on rival sides.

Mr Bhajan Lal was unhappy with the manner in which the party slapped a showcause notice on his younger son, Kuldeep Bishnoi, MP, for his open criticism of the style of functioning of the Hooda government, besides his humiliation.

In his resignation letter, Mr Lal had said, ''the recent Pradesh Congress Committee list (of office-bearers) has broken all bounds of patience in the hearts and minds of the real Congress workers at the grass-root level.'' Mr Lal has been disillusioned with the party leadership since the 2005 assembly election, when he led the party to a landslide victory. However, the national leadership refused to crown him as the chief minister. Bhupinder Singh Hooda, then an MP, was given the coveted job.

Things worsened further when a Hooda supporter, Dr Ram Prakash, was appointed Working President, who allegedly tried to usurp the powers of the PCC chief.

Meanwhile, Talking to reporters at his Panchkula residence, the two-time chief minister said he would not ''tolerate the neglect of the party workers and the Haryana public'' by the Hooda government.

He said the developments in the Haryana state in the last 15 months have been very painful and agonising for the people of the state, who voted for the Congress in the 2005 assembly elections.

Mr Bhajan Lal said he would reveal his future course of action in due course of time and ''strengthen the party from within'' for the time being. He, however, did not elaborate on his comment.

Asked how was he feeling after having relinquished the top party post in the state, he quipped: ''Mere man ka bojh halka ho gaya hai (The burden on my mind has been lifted)'' UNI TEAM YA VV2210

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