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January 31, 2000
INLD, BJP announce seat pact for Haryana
Haryana Chief Minister and Indian National Lok Dal president Om Prakash Chautala last night announced that his party would contest the forthcoming assembly election in the state in alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party.
The BJP will contest 29 of the 90 seats in the state assembly. The INLD takes the remaining 61.
"We have decided to contest the polls together under the banner of the National Democratic Alliance which is providing a powerful leadership at the Centre," Chautala told a press conference. Haryana BJP chief Om Prakash Grover was with him.
Denying any differences on the seat adjustment, Chautala said, "Winnability of the candidates was the sole criterion as we sat to decide the number of seats to be contested by the two parties."
Asked about the delay in announcing the pact, Chautala said, "It was primarily delayed as the BJP leadership was busy sorting out the poll pacts for Bihar and Orissa."
But he dismissed reports that any central BJP leader helped mediate the pact. "We [Grover and Chautala] decided it ourselves in consultation with senior leaders of the respective parties and local workers... It was decided amicably and with mutual discussions. We may, if need be, exchange seats," he said.
"We did not bother with the number of seats to be contested by each party. Winning the polls was the sole concern," he added.
Asked why he had decided to contest two seats, the chief minister explained, "It is because of the affection and demand of the party workers... if the pressure [from the workers] is too much, I might contest from three."
Grover announced that he would not contest the poll slated for February 22. The last date for filing nominations is February 3.
Later, the two politicians released a list of seats given to the two parties, signed by both. According to the list, the BJP will contest Kalka, Chhachhrauli, Yamunanagar, Ambala City, Ambala Cantonment, Shahabad, Karnal, Panipat, Sonepat, NIT Faridabad, Mewla Maharajpur, Ballabgarh, Taoru, Gurgaon, Rewari, Mahendergarh, Narnaul, Bhiwani, Sirsa, Jhajjar, Hissar, Rohtak, Kalanaur, Narnaund, Jagadhari, Jind, Pundri, Adampur and Bawani Khera.
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