Kumari Selja Appointed Haryana Congress Chief Ahead Of Elections

Kumari Selja, 56, a former union minister, is a member of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) - the party's highest decision-making body - and she is also close to interim chief Sonia Gandhi.

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Kumari Selja Appointed Haryana Congress Chief Ahead Of Elections

Kumari Selja is seen by the Haryana Congress as a leader who can bring stability to the state unit


New Delhi: 

Congress leader Kumari Selja will take over as the party's chief in Haryana, where elections are due later this year. She will replace Ashok Tanwar, a leader believed to be close to former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi.

Ashok Tanwar, who was appointed Haryana Congress chief in 2014, has been locked in a feud with former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, who has also been eyeing a key responsibility in the party. Mr Hooda will be the leader of the Congress legislature party and the chairman of the election management committee.

Kumari Selja, 56, a former union minister, is a member of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) - the party's highest decision-making body - and she is also close to interim chief Sonia Gandhi.

"It is a huge responsibility on my shoulders, all of us will have to work together. We are committed to the party's ideology," Kumari Selja told news agency ANI after her appointment.

The Dalit leader is seen by the Haryana Congress as a leader who can bring stability to the state unit and unite all warring factions. She is a two-time MP from Ambala.

Mr Hooda had been demanding Mr Tanwar's replacement for a long time and had threatened to quit if the party did not bring change soon. There was speculation he would form his own party, but he limited his "rebellion" to speaking out in support of the government's Kashmir decision, in defiance of the party line.

"I did not revolt, ours is a democratic party and there is no problem in speaking my mind," Mr Hooda told NDTV.

"Article 370 removal is the law of the land, it has been passed and there is no issue on this anymore," he said.

Asked about the long delay in deciding on a suitable candidate for Haryana unit president, he said: "Better late than never. And in an election one can never say."

He did not rule out being the chief ministerial candidate again. "In 2005 I wasn't named the chief ministerial candidate but the party will decide," said the two-time Chief Minister.



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