Senior Congress leaders and their kin are among the contenders for party tickets in Haryana, which sends 10 MPs to the Lok Sabha. Deepender Singh Hooda was the sole Congress leader to win a seat in the state in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. He holds the Rohtak parliamentary constituency — a traditional stronghold of the Hooda family.
The BJP had won seven seats and the Indian National Lok Dal bagged the remaining two.
Senior leaders who are likely to enter the fray include Kumari Selja from Ambala and state unit chief Ashok Tanwar from Sirsa.
Both Ambala and Sirsa are reserved constituencies and have been represented by Selja and Tanwar, respectively, in the past.
Ajay Singh Yadav, Naveen Jindal and Karan Singh Dalal are also eyeing tickets from Gurgaon, Kurukshetra and Faridabad, respectively.
Dalal is likely to face competition from former Congress MP from Faridabad, Avtar Singh Bhadana, who recently returned to the party fold after quitting the BJP.
Former chief minister and sitting MLA from Garhi Sampla Kiloi, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, could spring a surprise by entering the fray from Sonipat parliamentary constituency, sources close to the senior Congress leader said.
Like Rohtak, the adjoining Sonipat parliamentary constituency, which has a sizeable number of Jat voters, is considered a bastion of Hooda Senior, a four-time MP.
If BS Hooda, who was recently appointed chairman of Haryana Congress Coordination Committee, wins from Sonipat and his son manages to retain Rohtak, it could make the former a strong contender for the chief ministerial post, the sources said.
Assembly elections in Haryana are scheduled to be held in October this year.
Besides Deepender Hooda, daughter of Congress Legislature Party leader Kiran Choudhary, Shruti Choudhary, is also among the ticket hopefuls. Shruti is eyeing the party ticket from Bhiwani-Mahendergarh Lok Sabha constituency.
Senior Congress MLA Kuldeep Bishnoi is likely to push for the candidature of his son, Bhavya, from Hisar seat.
Amid infighting in the state unit, the Congress high command has planned bus tours across Haryana to present a united face ahead of the polls.
BS Hooda, however, rejected the claims of infighting and exuded confidence that the party would win with a comfortable margin.
“The entire Congress is one and united under the leadership of our party president Rahul Gandhi,” he said.
The Congress leader also hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre and Chief Minister M L Khattar-led state government, alleging that they had failed on to fulfil people’s expectations.
BS Hooda also alleged that the Centre and the state government had not delivered on promises made to farmers, youths, traders, and other sections.
Voting will be held in Haryana in the sixth round of seven-phase Lok Sabha polls on May 12. Results will be announced on May 23.