New Delhi: The issue of indiscipline and groupism in party affairs dominated an interaction meeting held by Rahul Gandhi with Congress MPs from Haryana on Tuesday, while some of the members complained against the functioning of Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda.
Party sources said the meeting saw MPs like Ishwar Singh, Avtar Singh Bhadana, Chaudhary Birender Singh and Shruti Chaudhary flagging the need for taking all sections in the party together amid assertions that non-Jat leaders should not be discriminated. Union Minister Kumari Selja and party MP Rao Inderjit Singh, the two most vocal critics of Hooda, did not speak at all in the meeting despite proddings, they said.
Concern was raised over continuance of crimes against Dalits in Haryana with Ishwar Singh, who belongs to the anti-Hooda camp, complaining lack of sincerity on the part of the state government to check crimes against the SCs. Singh is learnt to have said to Rahul that Dalits are the backbone of the party and their disenchantment with Congress will bring damage to the party.
As the MPs supporting Hooda objected to some of the members speaking against the state government in media, those from the other camp hit backing saying discipline was first broken by the former group as without talking to them, it was announced that some of the members have been issued notice for indiscipline.
Shaadi Lal Batra, who is known to be close to Hooda, said leaders should express their opinion within the party forum and not air differences before the media. He and some others argued that the party cannot remain a strong force unless discipline is maintained. Complaints were also made about absence of coordination between the state government and MPs.
As members raised the issue of non-appointment of a full time PCC chief in the state for more than two years after the resignation of Phulchand Mullana in October 2011, the Congress Vice-President agreed with their contention that the delay is hampering the party work.