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NEW DELHI : The Congress on Wednesday ended the debate around party leadership in Haryana by naming former Union minister Kumari Selja as the Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee chief in place of Ashok Tanwar.

The party also appointed former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda as the Congress legislative party leader (CLP) and chief of the election management committee.

The move comes weeks ahead of the likely announcement of Assembly elections in Haryana and was on expected lines as the Congress was faced with a leadership challenge in the state thrown by party veteran Hooda. The state unit had split into two factions, one with Hooda’s pro-change supporters and the other backing Tanwar.

“Kumari Selja, who has been a central minister and has handled various departments in different governments, will be the head of the state Congress committee. Senior leader from Haryana who has been a chief minister for 10 years, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, will be the CLP leader and the chairman of the election management committee. Given that elections may be announced anytime, these are very important positions," senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said.

“I am sure that all the leaders will work together. I agree that there was a delay in the list but we cannot hold on to the past and have to think about the future," said Azad in response to a question on the internal tussle leading to a delay in the announcement.

“The senior leaders who have been appointed will work together along with other senior leaders in the state to defeat the BJP government in the Haryana," he said.

Azad said that in the last five years, Haryana has seen a deterioration in the condition of farmers, a dismal law and order situation and large scale unemployment.

Haryana was once a stronghold of the Congress. However, in the 2014 Assembly elections, the party won only 15 out of 90 seats, while the Bharatiya Janata Party won 47 seats and formed the government in the state.


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