Mahendragarh (Haryana), Oct 18 (IANS): Former Congress President Rahul Gandhi chipped in at the last minute to address a poll rally in Mahendragarh on Friday with the conspicious absence of former Chief Minister and current party state unit leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda.
Addressing the crowd Rahul Gandhi said that Interim Congress President Sonia Gandhi is down with viral fever so he had to come. He assured them that even if they had called him at the last minute, he would have come.
Bhupinder Singh Hooda was also not present on the stage at the first rally of Rahul Gandhi in Nuh.
The candidates in Nuh and Mahendragarh, Aftab Ahmed and Rao Dan Singh, respectively are said to be close to Hooda. However, in Nuh his son Deepender Singh Hooda was present.
Rahul Gandhi not sharing the stage with Hooda senior is something related to politics, said a party leader on condition of anonymity. However, he added that these are the last days of campaigning and the former Chief Minister was on the campaign trail.
The Haryana Congress is mired in controversy with former state president Ashok Tanwar leaving the party at the last minute. He has now extended support to the JJP.
Ashok Tanwar was close to Rahul Gandhi and was hand-picked by the latter to lead the party in 2014 but Tanwar and Hooda were at daggers drawn. The former Haryana Chief of the party alleged that tickets were sold in the party.
In September, the Congress replaced Ashok Tanwar and Kiran Chowdhary. Former Union minister Kumari Selja was made state president and Bhupinder Singh Hooda was made the Congress legislative party leader.
The party is fighting a tough political battle in BJP-ruled Haryana to regain power.
Haryana goes to the polls on October 21.