Venod Sharma quits Congress, likely to join HJC
Chandigarh: Former Union minister and senior Haryana Congress leader Venod Sharma on Wednesday quit the party, saying he was unhappy with certain matters, and is likely to join the Haryana Janhit Congress of Kuldeep Bishnoi.
"There were certain matters...," Sharma told a news agency over phone.
When pressed what those matters were, the Ambala MLA, known to be close to Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, said he felt the ways of the party`s functioning were "not quite democratic".
He said he had forwarded his resignation to Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
Asked if he would join HJC, Sharma refused to comment saying, "As of now, I have not taken any decision with regards to my future course of action."
However, HJC sources said he was likely to join the party and hold a joint press conference in Delhi soon with Bishnoi.
HJC is already in an alliance with BJP and Sharma`s entry may help the alliance rally non-Jat votes around it in the region.
The veteran Congress leader`s quitting the party comes close on the heels of another party MP from Gurgaon, Rao Inderjit Singh parting ways to join BJP.
Sharma had given the first indication of parting ways with Congress when he skipped the 12-day long budget session of the Haryana Assembly, which concluded here yesterday.
Sources said Sharma was not happy with Congress` decision to give Rajya Sabha seat to Union Minister Selja as he was eyeing a nomination.
Sharma had been in the Congress for over 40 years and was seen close to the power centre in the party.
After he quit Hooda cabinet following media reports that he allegedly tried to influence a witness in the Jessica Lal murder case, in which his son Manu Sharma was convicted, the party appointed him as the head of the state election campaign committee for 2009 Lok Sabha polls.
Reacting to Venod Sharma`s decision, Congress expressed sadness, but said that it was his personal decision.
When asked what could have been the reason behind Sharma taking the step, Haryana Congress president Ashok Tanwar said, "We will find out the reason."
"It (Sharma`s resignation) is sad news for us," he told a news agency, and added that "each and every individual is important for us", when asked about Sharma`s long association with the party.
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