Fearing poaching, Congress appoints observers for RS polls
New Delhi: The Congress on Sunday appointed observers in Haryana, Maharashtra and Rajasthan for Rajya Sabha polls.
Leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge has been appointed observer for Maharashtra, Pawan Bansal and T.S. Singhdeo for Rajasthan and Bhupesh Baghel and Rajeev Shukla for Haryana.
The Congress in Haryana has moved the party MLAs to Chhattisgarh to protect them from being poached by the BJP-backed Independent candidate ahead of the Rajya Sabha polls scheduled on June 10.
The Congress was caught by surprise after the BJP backed Independent candidate for one of the two Rajya Sabha seats in Haryana upset its calculations. Independent candidate Kartikeya Sharma is likely to get votes from the JJP, apart from the surplus BJP votes.
Congress’ headache has increased after Kuldeep Bishnoi did not attend the recent party MLAs meeting. The Congress has a strength of 31 votes in the 90-member Haryana Assembly, and a difference of a single vote can alter its equation.
Kartikeya Sharma is the son of former Congress leader Venod Sharma and Ambala Mayor Shakti Rani Sharma. He is also the son-in-law of former Haryana Speaker Kuldeep Sharma, a Congress veteran. While Venod Sharma has left the party, Kartikeya, 41, is the managing director of ITV Network which runs news channels.
The Congress has fielded Ajay Maken from Haryana, while in Rajasthan its candidates are Mukul Wasnik, Randeep Singh Surjewala and Pramod Tiwari.
Dissent is already brewing in these two states as many party leaders are not happy with ‘outsiders’ being fielded from their states, and both Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Ashok Gehlot will face a tough task in keeping their flock together in Haryana and Rajasthan, respectively.
While the Congress in Rajasthan has taken its MLAs to Udaipur, in Maharashtra, the party has 44 MLAs with three surplus votes and Shiv Sena and BJP are in contest. So, the Congress party has deputed senior leader like Kharge for smooth transfer of surplus votes.