Hooda begins second innings with hands tiedNovember 9th, 2009 - 12:01 pm ICT by IANS
By Jaideep Sarin
Chandigarh, Nov 9 (IANS) In trying to become the first party in 30 years to return to power in Haryana for a second consecutive term, the Congress, along with its Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, has ended up with its hands tied.
The induction of new ministers and chief parliamentary secretaries Saturday has clearly shown that Hooda and his party will have to learn lessons in coalition politics in Haryana - a state where the Congress ruled with absolute control between March 2005 and October 2009.
All the seven independent legislators who extended ‘unconditional’ support to the new Hooda government have ended up being ministers or with equivalent status.
While independent legislator Om Prakash Jain was sworn in a cabinet minister and given the important charge of the power ministry, three other independent legislators, Shiv Charan Sharma, Gopal Kanda and Sukhbir Kataria, managed to get ministers of state (MoS) berths.
Billionaire-legislator Gopal Kanda, who owns the MDLR Airlines and is known for his links to former chief minister and Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) leader Om Prakash Chautala, has been given charge of the home department even though he himself is facing criminal cases in Gurgaon.
Hooda could get only five legislators from the Congress to be ministers in his government. Only two from his previous government, Ajay Singh Yadav and Randeep Singh Surjewala, made it this time around.
The Congress got 40 seats in the 90-member assembly in last month’s assembly poll. It fell short of the simple majority in the assembly by six seats. The Congress had won 67 seats in the February 2005 assembly poll.
Hooda was also forced to induct the remaining three independent legislators, Jaleb Khan, Parhlad Singh and Ram Krishan Fauji, as chief parliamentary secretaries (CPS) along with six Congress legislators. The CPS enjoy all ministerial privileges.
Though Hooda has for now left vacant four ministerial berths - Haryana can have a total of 14 ministers, including the chief minister - this is more out of compulsion than by choice.
Known Hooda detractor and former minister Kiran Chaudhary and former minister Savitri Jindal have been left out in the first induction of ministers. Chaudhary is unlikely to let go of the snub lightly.
Hooda himself has not only been bogged down by pressure from the seven supporting independents but from his own party.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi has already formed a coordination committee of state and central leaders to monitor the work of the Hooda government. The committee, headed by union minister Prithviraj Chavan, has known Hooda-critic and chief ministerial aspirant Birender Singh as its co-chairman. Union Minister for Tourism Kumari Selja, who has emerged strongly in the anti-Hooda lobby, too is part of the committee.
Hooda and his supporters, Rajya Sabha MP Ram Prakash, minister Ajay Singh Yadav and state Congress president Phool Chand Mullana, are also part of the committee.
Another area of worry for Hooda will be the Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC) led by former chief minister Bhajan Lal and his son Kuldeep Bishnoi. The HJC has a crucial strength of six legislators in the assembly.
Bishnoi has resisted all attempts by the Congress to force him to merge his party - most of whose leaders are former Congress men - with it. But he has kept the door of support open for the Congress.
Hooda will always be under pressure from the Congress central leadership to take the HJC on board for a more stable government in Haryana instead of depending only on the independents.
(Jaideep Sarin can be contacted at email@example.com)
- Defectors, independents, dissidents - all part of Hooda government - Feb 13, 2011
- A Rs.300 crore 'Thank You' from Hooda! (Haryana Newsletter) - Dec 18, 2011
- Hooda washes his hands of Kanda - Aug 10, 2012
- All eyes on Hisar - to fill Bhajan Lal's shoes - Sep 11, 2011
- Haryana's defector legislators object to hearing - Feb 04, 2011
- End of Lal era in Haryana politics - Jun 04, 2011
- After Hisar defeat, uphill task for Hooda in by-polls - Nov 07, 2011
- Hooda expands ministry, includes HJC defectors - Jan 28, 2011
- In Hisar, roadroller almost crushed Bishnoi's tractor - Nov 06, 2011
- Hisar bypoll: Hooda has lot at stake - Sep 25, 2011
- Kanda leaves Hooda government embarrassed (Haryana Newsletter) - Aug 10, 2012
- Defector Haryana lawmakers want disqualification petition dismissed - Nov 10, 2011
- Namesakes seek to confuse pitch in Haryana by-poll - Oct 05, 2011
- Hooda detractors make themselves heard (Haryana Newsletter) - Jan 15, 2012
- Haryana minister quits after murder taint (Second Lead) - Jun 09, 2011
Tags: absolute control, assembly poll, chautala, coalition politics, consecutive term, equivalent status, fauji, independent legislators, kataria, mdlr airlines, member assembly, ministerial berths, ministers of state, new ministers, parliamentary secretaries, power ministry, ram krishan, randeep, sukhbir, unconditional support