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Happy Dussehra and Diwali to all Readers.          November 2019 Edition of Power Politics is updated.
Issue:June' 2019


No end to infighting in parties

V.P. Prabhakar

One interesting feature of the Haryana assembly elections, held on October 21, was that infighting affected the poll prospects of all three major parties which fielded their candidates for all seats. These parties were the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP), the Congress and the newly floated Jannayak Janata Party (JJP), an offshoot of the Chautala group.
The Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) fielded its candidates from 82 constituencies, giving three seats to its ally Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and supporting independents on four. It extended its support to an independent in the remaining one seat.
There were 1.83 crore voters, including 1.07 lakh service voters. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress interim chief Sonia Gandhi and Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi were there to campaign for their parties' candidates.

The Congress, headed for over 10 years by Ashok Tanwar, got the biggest jolt when he left the party altogether. He criticized not only the Congress High Command but also former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda. The High Command had appointed Kumari Shelja as state president and Hooda as leader of the Opposition.

While Shelja said that the Congress had not named anyone as Chief Minister, Hooda said that he was the Chief Ministerial candidate. She said the Congress would not announce any CM candidate in Haryana and there was no such precedent in the state. The High Command will decide the CM after the elections. She said that failures of the BJP government on the front of jobs, farmers, economy and other governance parameters would be the key campaign issues for the Congress.

Another big jolt for the Congress was the resignation of former Finance Minister Sampat Singh from the party. He said he would ensure the defeat of Congress candidates Kuldeep Bishnoi (Adampur), Randhir Panihar (Nalwa) and Prahlad Gillankhera (Fatehabad). He alleged that Congress candidates' names were finalised in Delhi hotels. "One day, I will write a book to narrate the entire drama (of how Congress selects its nominees", he said.

This does not mean that there was no resentment in the ruling party BJP. Many sitting MLAs of the Congress, the INLD and even independents were admitted as members of the party. As a result, some sitting BJP MLAs were denied the party ticket and some filed their papers as independent candidates. However, their protests were not so loud.

Addressing a public meeting at Hissar, the Chief Minister said whenever there was repeat of any government, the ruling party used to get less seats than before. But this time the BJP would win more seats. He claimed that the public had made up its mind almost six months ago to repeat this regime. Earlier, voters used to make up their minds 10-15 days before the voting began, he added.

BJP national spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said the people of Haryana were happy after the Central Government revoked Article 370 and bifurcated Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories. "We fulfilled all promises except the Congress-Mukt Bharat and this promise will be met soon. The Muslim community has a great faith in the Prime Minister and he has rejected the theory of radical Islam at international forums,” he pointed out. Addressing a rally in Badhra, INLD supremo Om Parkash Chautala said, “All parties have given tickets to rich people, but we have fielded a farmer’s son, Vijay Kumar, from Badhra. Out party has always struggled for the rights of farmers and the poor. We have given tickets to people belonging to the same constituency, but some parties have fielded parachute candidates here.”

He said the BJP government had been creating hurdles in the process of his release from Jail. Serving a 10-year jail term in a teachers’ recruitment scam, Om Parkash Chautala is currently out on furlough.

“I have already served my sentence but the government has not released me under the Centre’s policy of granting special remission to prisoners. I have taken feedback from various corners of the state, which suggests that the next government in Haryana will be formed with the support of the INLD. The BJP has Chautala phobia which is why there are not releasing me. They think if I come out of jail, I will snatch power from them,” he added.

However, he remained soft on the Congress, the BSP and other political parties in his 19-minute speech. He said the people wanted a change and claimed that they would give their mandate to the INLD.

Slamming the Khattar government, he said, “During the BJP regime, not only humans but animals too are upset. Farmers are being forced to sell their produce at low prices.”

VK Sharma Punjab Lokpal

V.P. Singh Badnore administered the oath of allegiance to Justice (Retd.)
Vinod Kumar Sharma as Lokpal, Punjab and also administered oath of
office to Lt Gen. (Retd.) Ajae Kumar Sharma as State Information
Commissioner, Punjab in the presence of Chief Minister,Capt.
Amarinder Singh
Punjab Governor V.P. Singh Badnore on October 8 administered the oath of allegiance to office to Justice (retd) Vinod Kumar Sharma as Punjab Lokpal in the presence of Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh.
Badnore also administered the oath of office to Lt- Gen (retd) Ajay Kumar Sharma as State Information Commissioner at a ceremony in Punjab Raj Bhawan.
Earlier, Punjab Chief Secretary Karan Avatar Singh sought permission of the Governor to begin the swearing in ceremony.
The Congress before the last assembly elections had promised to amend the existing Act. However, the government has not been able to bring in the amendment even though the draft is ready for over a year.

Justice Sharma had worked as an advocate in the Punjab and Haryana High Court from 1974 till his elevation as a Judge of the Punjab and Haryana High court in March 2006. He retired as a Judge of the Madras High Court in May 2013.