New Delhi: After flexing muscles for months to break the Congress, former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda finally took the command of the party ahead of the Assembly elections on Wednesday as the chairman of the state election management committee and also as the Opposition leader in the Haryana Assembly in place of Kiran Choudhry.
Kiran Choudhry, daughter of former CM and defence minister Bansi Lal, had fallen out with Hooda and as such her removal came as a consolation prize to Hooda as Azad declared him as the new leader of the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) that automatically makes him as the leader of Opposition in the Haryana Assembly.
His victory comes 11 days ahead of turning 72 on September 15, but without acceptance of his demand to declare him as the chief ministerial candidate.
He has been the chief minister for 10 years until the BJP came to power in 2014. He was told that the Congress never declares the CM candidate citing the polls in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, exception being Punjab where Capt. Amarinder Singh was declared the CM candidate to stop him from revolting.
Hooda was reconciled only after the Congress heeded his prime demand to oust Ashok Tanwar (43), a Rahul Gandhi appointee heading the state party for the past five years.
The party's command as the state Congress chief, however, was given to Kumari Selja (56), a former union minister, 4-term Lok Sabha member and currently the Rajya Sabha member.