Saturday, March 1, 2008


CM rules out state YC chief’s nomination
Race for Rajya Sabha hots up
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 1
Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda has ruled out the nomination of state Youth Congress chief Sanjay Chhokker for a Rajya Sabha seat from Haryana.

Two seats from the state will be up for grabs when the nationwide poll for the Upper House takes place on March 26. The present occupants of the seats are Ram Prakash of the Congress and Harender Malik. INLD chief Om Prakash Chautala sent Malik, a native of western UP, to the Rajya Sabha from Haryana in a bid to expand the party’s base in the Jat belt of UP.

With the ruling Congress in the state being in a position to get its candidates elected from both seats, Congress members are making a beeline for nomination. Chhokker got a resolution passed recently at a meeting of the Youth Congress saying that he should be given nomination for the Rajya Sabha.

Hooda, however, has brushed aside the YC resolution and has made it clear that the youth leader is not being considered for a ticket to the House of Elders.

Ram Prakash was elected following a vacancy created by the death of Sumitra Mahajan, and as a result had a short stint in the House. It is widely believed that Ram Prakash, in view of his truncated tenure, will make a strong case for his re-election. For the other RS seat, there is a huge rush.

Among those who are in the race is working president of the party in Haryana Kuldeep Sharma, a Hooda confidant. Sharma, the party’s Brahmin face, is also fighting a political battle with Arvind Sharma, Congress MP from Karnal, on the issue of influence over the Brahmins. Backers of Kuldeep Sharma argue that if he is sent to the Rajya Sabha, he will be able to position himself better with regard to his fight with the Karnal MP.

Haryana has already sent a Brahmin candidate to the Rajya Sabha in the form of union law minister H.R. Bhardwaj. Bhardwaj, though a native of Haryana, has never taken much interest in the politics of his home state and continues to be aloof.

Srikishan Hooda, who quit his Kiloi assembly constituency to pave the way for Hooda to contest from the seat, is also said to be in contention for the Rajya Sabha this time round.

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