Congress President Sonia Gandhi today expelled Haryana Congress MLA Kuldeep Bishnoi from all party positions including the post of a special invitee to the Congress Working Committee with immediate effect. Haryana Congress sources had earlier indicated that action was sought against Adampur MLA Kuldeep Bishnoi for cross-voting in the Rajya Sabha polls.
Mr Bishnoi hit back, taking a jibe at the party's "swift and strong action". He also accused the party of partisan behaviour, saying "rules are applied selectively".
"Had @incindia acted this swiftly & strongly in 2016 & on every other critical opportunity they've missed, they wouldn't have been in such dire straits.
Congress also has rules for some leaders and exceptions for others. Rules are applied selectively. Indiscipline has been repeatedly ignored in the past. In my case, I listened to my soul & acted on my morals," he tweeted.
Mr Bishnoi hit headlines right before the June 10 polls to the upper house for his cryptic tweets in the run-up to the elections to two Rajya Sabha seats in Haryana.
Congress nominee Ajay Maken, who many assumed was sure to win, failed to secure a Rajya Sabha seat after Mr Bishnoi cross-voted and the vote of another MLA was declared invalid.
According to the Congress, Mr Bishnoi, instead of voting for the party candidate Mr Maken, cross-voted for Kartikeya Sharma, who had entered the contest as an Independent candidate supported by the BJP and its ally Jannayak Janata Party.
"The Congress president has expelled Kuldeep Bishnoi from all his present party positions, including the post of special invitee of the Congress Working Committee, with immediate effect," a statement from AICC general secretary KC Venugopal said.
Mr Bishnoi had not attended any of the party meetings of its legislators and had said that he has voted as per his conscience.
In a cryptic tweet in Hindi on Saturday, he had said, “I know how to crush a snake's hood. I do not leave the jungle in fear of snakes.” He has allegedly been sulking over being sidelined during the revamp of the party's state unit.
After the Rajya Sabha results were declared, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar while replying to a question on Mr Bishnoi voting for Mr Sharma, had said the Congress leader did it listening to his "inner conscience".
"The party will welcome him if he joins it," Mr Khattar had said, on the rebel leader's likelihood of jumping ships.
Mr Bishnoi, a prominent non-Jat face in Haryana, is the son of former Haryana Chief Minister and Congress leader late Bhajan Lal.