Rift in Haryana Congress after defeat in polls: Kumari Selja holds Hooda responsible

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Kumari Selja
Haryana, Oct 21: After the poll debacle in Haryana, now knives are out in Congress as BJP marked a saffron surge in Congress's fiefdom.

Dissension in Haryana Congress unit came to the fore with former Union minister Kumari Selja, a known detractor of outgoing Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, gunning for his head saying the responsibility of the defeat should be on him.

"If Haryana was number one then why did Congress finish third on Sunday? It (number one) remained only a slogan which did not wash with people of Haryana," Selja told ET.

"Did anyone see the face of any other Congress leader other than him (Hooda)? First he goes on making announcements that a majority of tickets will be given to new faces and what happens in the end? Where was his (Hooda) wisdom? There was a sense given to the people that there was nobody else from Congress except him, " she was further quoted as saying in the daily.

Firing a salvo at Delhi-based senior leaders of the party, a young minister in Karnataka government demanded "weeding out" ineffectual leaders operating from the national capital.

"@INCIndia will learn from its losses..time to strengthen committed grassroot leaders & weed out effete leaders operating out from Delhi," Dinesh Gundu Rao tweeted.

Explaining his remarks, Rao later said that those working at the grass roots like Sachin Pilot in Rajasthan should be given more prominence.

"The focus should be on grass roots and committed leaders... Such leaders should be identified, recognised and promoted," he said clarifying he was "not hitting out at anyone" and expressing his faith in the leadership of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi.

Rao, a fourth term MLA is Minister for Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs in Karnataka and the son of former Chief Minister R Gundu Rao.

With the Assembly election results in Haryana giving BJP a clear majority to form the next government and Congress tally coming down to a mere 15 in the 90-member state assembly, Hooda was under fire from Selja.

"I think the responsibility should be on him because he enjoyed total, absolute unbridled power for last 10 years as Chief Minister," she said when asked how much does she blame Hooda for the defeat.
She also said her relationship with Hooda also affected her campaigning during the polls.

Selja alleged that even the ticket distribution as well as campaign and publicity were "more or less one sided".

"A lot of people were consulted in ticket selection but by the end when tickets were finally given out, it was heavily loaded in his favour," she said.

(With inputs from agencies)

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