Chandigarh: With Haryana Assembly polls due in October, senior Congress leader Shakeel Ahmed here today held a meeting of those candidates who were defeated in the 2009 state polls.
Congress general secretary Ahmed, who is in-charge of party affairs for Haryana, met the candidates at the party’s state unit headquarters to help firm up strategy for the elections, in which the party is eyeing to score a hat-trick.
“The idea behind meeting these candidates was doing an assessment on these seats (which Congress lost in 2009). We wanted to know what work these candidates had been doing in their constituencies even though they may have lost and which all programmes of the party had they participated in all these years,” Ahmed told reporters.
“All this is important because just being a MP or a MLA is not the only thing. Standing by people in their hour of need is also the job of political leaders, even when they are not in power. So we wanted to make an assessment about all these things which is why we had called these candidates for the meeting,” Ahmed said.
The Congress had won 40 seats on its own in the 90 member Haryana Assembly after the October 2009 polls, but later on the party got support of the Independents and five members of the Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC) also joined it enabling it to form the government for second time in a row.
Ahmed pointed out that there were between 20-22 seats where the party candidates in 2009 polls had lost by a margin of 2,000 votes or less while 8-10 candidates had lost by a margin of 1,000 votes or less.
When asked why senior leader Birender Singh had not participated in today’s meeting, Ahmed said the latter had informed him about being inavailable for the meet.
Birender had lost the 2009 Assembly polls to former Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala by a narrow margin of 621 votes from Uchana Kalan Assembly segment in Jind district.
Reiterating that the next polls will be fought under Hooda’s leadership, Ahmed said, “this issue is settled. We have said it very clearly that the next state Assembly polls will be held under Hooda’s leadership.”
With infighting in the state unit remaining an Achilles heel for the Congress, Ahmed, however, said that everyone will fight the polls unitedly to ensure success.