Mocking the Congress for not fielding candidates for the Mayoral elections, the leader of the Opposition and Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) Abhay Singh Chautala on Thursday said that it was a ruse to hide its lack of public support.

He said Congress leader and former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda was aware that by contesting elections on party symbol he would expose his claim of having sound support in Rohtak. A defeat in Rohtak would have weakened his claim of being the tallest leader among all Congressmen and one who has a statewide base, Chautala said.

The INLD leader also said that with a divided house where many claimed to be qualifying for leading Congress, others too were suffering from the same fear of being exposed and hence as a face saver these leaders had agreed to keep the party symbol out of the mayoral elections. He further added that the case of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was in no different position than Congress. If Congress was afraid of losing then the BJP discovers that the party was finding it difficult to find willing candidates to contest elections.

Chautala claimed, when the Chief Minister Mamohar Lal Khattar had to telephonically contact people to coax them to contest elections, therefore it can be imagined the kind of confidence that party has before entering into the electoral fray. Thus, on the one hand, the Congress was shying away from the direct contest for fear of exposing the tall claims of many of its leaders the BJP finds itself in the unenviable position where no one is willing to contest on its behalf, he said.

Senior Congress leader Hooda had on Tuesday stated that his party is yet to decide whether to contest the elections for the municipal corporations and mayors on party symbol or not.

He had pointed out that the Congress had not contested the local bodies’ elections on its symbol since the past nearly five decades. The electoral contest is for the seats of Mayor and members of all wards of five Municipal Corporations including Hisar, Rohtak, Yamunanagar, Panipat and Karnal and of two Municipal committees including Jakhal Mandi (Fatehabad) and Pundri (Kaithal) on 16 December.

It would be for the first time that direct election to the post of Mayor would be held in five civic bodies in the state. Both the BJP and INLD have announced the decision to contest these polls of their respective symbols.