Race to grab top BJP job on in Haryana
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Gurjar, who will complete his tenure this month, seems to be on his way out and the party has already sounded the state unit to reach a consensus. The RSS also has its leaders vying for the top post. According to party leaders, senior BJP leaders Sushma Swaraj and Nitin Gadkari, while they were in Haryana, last week, tried to ascertain the mood and claims of the leaders.
Ironically, among the three top most contenders for the post, two senior leaders have repeatedly lost the elections and another has never contested an election. Hence, there is a slender attempt to convince the party high command to give another term to Gurjar, who had won the last two Assembly polls, till the next polls.
The party managed to win four seats in the last Assembly poll under his leadership. Gurjar had been opposing the alliance with the Chautalas, whereas the leader of BJP Legislature Party in Assembly, Anil Vij, who is also a contender for the post of state unit chief, is considered to have a soft corner for the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) led by former chief minister Om Prakash Chautala. Vij has to bear the jibes of the ruling Congress in the House for his soft stand on the Chautalas against his party's strict refusal to reach an electoral alliance with the Chautalas.
However, former minister Ram Bilas Sharma, who has been defeated in the Assembly and Lok Sabha elections since 2001, has been considered a strong contender. Sharma, who had twice been minister in the state, had been losing the Assembly and even Lok Sabha polls since he dumped former Chief Minister Bansi Lal to join hands with the Chautalas in 1990. The BJP once pitched him against Kuldeep Bishnoi (then Congress), Ajay Singh Chautala (INLD) and Surender Singh (Haryana Vikas Party of Bansi Lal) in Bhiwani where he lost his deposit and finished third.
However, the party always preferred him for his oratory skills. He has got support at the high command level, due to his old contacts. He is leaving no stone unturned to end his more than a decade long hibernation by grabbing the top post.
Another contender for the post is Rohtak leader Captain Abhimanyu, who lost his first electoral battle to CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda and then his (CM) son, Deepender Hooda, in the Rohtak Lok Sabha seat. Manohar Lal Khattar, another leader from Rohtak, enjoys the support of the RSS and his claim to the post is considered no less significant because of Sangh's powerful hold in the area.
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