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'Never invited nor will give him entry': Khattar rubbishes 'Tanwar joining BJP' rumours

By Vishal S

Karnal, Oct 5: Amid in-fighting in the Haryana Congress, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar rubbished speculations that Ashok Tanwar, who quit the grand old party, may join the BJP.

In a jolt to the Sonia Gandhi led party ahead of assembly elections in the state, former Haryana Congress chief Ashok Tanwar quit from the party. Some reports then speculated on him joining the BJP. When asked about Tanwar's reported remarks that the BJP had invited him, Khattar said, "We will not give him (Tanwar) entry (into BJP)."

Manohar Lal Khattar

Khattar on Saturday ruled out any possibility of inducting former state Congress chief Ashok Tanwar into the BJP fold after the latter quit his party. Khattar slammed the opposition Congress, saying Tanwar's allegations of irregularities in ticket allotment have exposed the party, and asserted only those people who have a "clean past" and "carry no baggage" will be allowed to join the BJP.

"Congress is going through existential crises, not because of its political opponents but because of serious internal contradiction," Tanwar said in letter to Sonia Gandhi.

Tanwar had said that the Congress in Haryana had turned into "Hooda Congress" as those who worked against the party's interests during the last five years had been given prominence.

Bhupinder Singh Hooda, a prominent Jat face and former chief minister, and Ashok Tanwar, considered close to Rahul Gandhi, have been sparring over several issues for years.

[Haryana elections: How caste equations matter and BJP's 'non-Jat' masterstroke]

"Had the BJP invited him (Tanwar), he would have come by now," the chief minister said after Tanwar resigned from the primary membership of the Congress on Saturday.

The former MP announced his resignation on Twitter and posted a four-page resignation letter addressed to Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

"Nothing works in Congress without money. The former state president (Tanwar) made such an allegation. I will say Congress has been exposed," said Khattar.

"Earlier also, it used to happen there (Congress). Now people and leaders have understood that they should not remain in such a party. A lot of their people are contacting us and we are saying that we will take people whose past is clean and who face no allegation and carry no baggage," Khattar said.

[Will Modi wave help Khattar retain power in Haryana?]

There is "no trust" between the Congress leaders and workers and because of this the party is in such a "bad situation", he added.

Tanwar was considered close to Rahul Gandhi and was the Haryana Congress chief since 2014. The Congress last month replaced him with Kumari Selja, while his bete noire Bhupender Singh Hooda was appointed chairperson of the election management committee.

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