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Cong gets simple majority in Haryana, HJC MLA joins party

November 10, 2009 15:55 IST

The Congress on Tuesday gained simple majority in the Haryana assembly with a member of legislative assembly from Haryana Janhit Congress (Bhajan Lal) joining the ruling party.

The Congress now has 45 members in the 90-member assembly, which has an effective strength of 89 with one seat being vacant.

"HJC's Samalkha MLA Dharam Singh Chokkar had on Monday sent a communication that he wanted to join the Congress along with four of his party colleagues, but could not reach here on time. His plea was accepted," Haryana assembly Speaker H S Chatha told the media.

The HJC is now left with just one legislator -- its party president Kuldeep Bishnoi, the younger son of former chief minister Bhajan Lal -- with four Janhit MLAs having joined the Congress on Monday after breaking away from their party.

The speaker said he had received a fax message from Chokkar on Monday saying that he was also part of the group of the HJC MLAs who wanted to join the Congress.

"I accepted his plea. Chokkar has today joined the Congress, which has accepted him as its member," he said.

The Haryana assembly, at present, has one seat vacant.

Former chief minister and opposition Indian National Lok Dal president Om Prakash Chautala, who had won from two seats, retained the Uchana Kalan seat and vacated the Ellenabad seat.

The Congress had fallen six short of simple majority in the House and got the support of seven independents and the lone Bahujan Samaj Party legislator Akram Khan.

Chokkar met Speaker Chatha on Tuesday at his office in the Haryana assembly building. He also had a meeting with Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda.

Chokkar told mediapersons later that HJC chief Bishnoi had earlier announced to support the government, but had been "unnecessarily delaying" to openly declare his stand. "When he did not stick to his stand, we decided that we should act on our own and support the Congress because people want a stable government," Chokkar said, adding that he had joined the Congress "unconditionally".

State Congress president Phool Chand Mullana and senior leader Randeep Singh Surjewala, who were present when Chokkar met the speaker, welcomed the HJC MLA into the party fold.

"I welcome him into the party fold. I have full hope that his admission will further strengthen the Congress party," Mullana said.

Asked why Chokkar had not come with the other four HJC MLAs on Monday, Mullana said "he had a stomach upset".

The four Janhit MLAs -- Zile Ram Chochra (Asandh constituency), Vinod Bhayana (Hansi), Satpal Sangwan (Dadri) and Rao Narender Singh (Narnaul) -- had on Monday said they had "legally split" and merged with the Congress" as they constituted the two-third of the HJC legislature party strength, much more than the number required to escape anti-defection law.
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