New Delhi/Chandigarh: The Congress Sunday announced candidates for five Lok Sabha seats in Haryana, fielding party heavyweight and former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda from Sonipat and replacing Faridabad candidate Lalit Nagar with Avtar Singh Bhadana.
Nagar, who was dropped as Faridabad candidate, is said to be close to former Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra, sources said. With the announcement of the new list, the party has declared candidates for all the 10 Lok Sabha seats in Haryana. When asked to comment on his candidature, Hooda, who is a four-time MLA and has remained Lok Sabha MP on four occasions in the past, said he respects the party’s decision to field him from Sonipat.
“I am a disciplined soldier of the party. I had earlier said that I will contest the polls if my party asks me to do so. My priority is my party,” he told PTI. “I am confident that the Congress will win all the 10 seats because people are fed up with the BJP-led governments at the Centre and in Haryana,” Hooda, who is a sitting legislator from Garhi Sampla Kiloi in Rohtak district, said. The Congress fielded former state assembly Speaker Kuldeep Sharma from Karnal and Bhavya Bishnoi from Hisar Lok Sabha seats, respectively.
Bhavya Bishnoi, 26, who is the son of Kuldeep Bishnoi and the grandson of former Haryana Chief Minister Bhajan Lal, will be taking on Union Minister Birender Singh’s bureaucrat-son Brijendra and sitting MP and JJP leader Dushyant Chautala from the Hisar constituency. He thanked the Congress leadership for putting its trust in the young leader.
“I will live up to the expectations of the people and my party,” he said. Bhavya Bishnoi is an alumnus of prestigious London School of Economics. His parents Kuldeep Bishnoi and Renuka Bishnoi are sitting Congress legislators from Haryana. The Congress also nominated former minister Nirmal Singh as the party candidate from Kurukshetra, replacing Naveen Jindal, who had unsuccessfully contested the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
All 10 Lok Sabha seats of Haryana will go to polls in the sixth phase on May 12. The Congress earlier had announced its first list of six candidates for the Lok Sabha polls in Haryana. The list included sitting MP and son of Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Deepender Singh Hooda, and Rajya Sabha member Kumari Selja. Deepender Singh Hooda has been renominated from Rohtak. Selja will be fighting from from the Ambala (Reserved) seat. Sonipat parliamentary constituency lies adjacent to the Rohtak Lok Sabha seat. State Congress chief Ashok Tanwar will contest from the Sirsa (Reserved) seat.
Congress Legislature Party leader Kiran Choudhary’s daughter Shruti has been named from the Bhiwani-Mahendragarh seat. She had contested the 2014 Lok Sabha polls unsuccessfully from this seat. Six-time MLA Capt Ajay Singh Yadav will contest from Gurgaon. Out of the 10 Lok Sabha seats, the Congress had won only the Rohtak seat in 2014. The elder Hooda, Tanwar, Selja, Sharma, Yadav, Bhadana and Deepender Hooda are among the party’s heavyweights.
The filing of nominations for the Lok Sabha seats in the state began on April 16 and will end on April 23. The ruling BJP has already announced its candidates for the 10 seats, so has the Jannayak Janata Party-AAP alliance. The JJP-AAP announced its candidates for the 10 seats after its talks with the Congress for forging a tie-up did not fructify.