Haryana Congress disdainful of Bhajan Lal victory

May 26th, 2008 - 9:20 pm ICT by admin  

Chandigarh, May 26 (IANS) Haryana’s ruling Congress party Monday remained disdainful of former chief minister Bhajan Lal’s win in the Adampur assembly by-election, pointing out that his victory margin had fallen in just three years. Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda dismissed Bhajan Lal’s victory as a “politically meaningless non-event”, saying the 77-year-old Lal won because of an emotional appeal to voters to help him win what could perhaps be his last electoral battle.

“Bhajan Lal did not fair well, it was his farewell,” Hooda laughed.

The septuagenarian Bhajan Lal, contesting the seat for the eighth time (his wife Jasma Devi and son Kuldip Bishnoi have represented the seat separately once each), won it with a comfortable margin of 26,188 votes.

His closest two rivals - Ranjit Singh, a son of former deputy prime minister Devi Lal, of the Congress and former Haryana finance minister Sampat Singh of the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) - together could not poll the 56,841 votes polled by Bhajan Lal. They got 30,653 and 20,136 votes respectively.

But Congress leaders, including chief minister Hooda, tried to draw solace Monday from the Congress victories in the Indri and Gohana by-elections also Sunday.

“Only elderly people win from Adampur in by-elections. Bhajan Lal has polled 30,000 less votes this time,” Hooda told party workers Monday.

Bhajan Lal had won the same seat in February 2005 on Congress ticket with a margin of over 71,000 votes - the highest by any candidate in that election.

“Bhajan Lal has lost the Adampur election on moral grounds. They day is not far when his base there will be completely eroded. There was not even a single case of booth capturing in Adampur and that speaks volumes about the chief minister,” state Congress working president Kuldeep Sharma said.

Despite losing the Indri and Gohana seats to the Congress, the Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC), Bhajan Lal’s new political party, said that the by-election had shown that HJC was a better alternative against the Congress compared to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJ) and the INLD.

“This victory (in Adampur) gives us a lot of satisfaction. In Indri, we lost by a small margin (5,800 votes),” said Kuldip Bishnoi, younger son of Bhajan Lal and MP from Bhiwani.

However, Bhajan Lal’s elder son and Haryana Deputy Chief Minister Chander Mohan did not comment on his father’s victory. He had neither campaigned for his father nor for Congress candidates in the three by-elections.

By-elections in Indri, Gohana and Adampur were necessitated after Bhajan Lal and his supporters-legislators Rakesh Kamboj and Dharampal Malik were disqualified in March under the Anti-defection law for joining the HJC. They had won these seats in 2005 on Congress ticket.

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