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Battle lines drawn as Haryana votes today
Naveen S Garewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 14
The battle lines for the Haryana Vidhan Sabha elections have been drawn with 1.63 crore voters tomorrow sealing the fate of 1,351 candidates in 90 Assembly segments across the state. The state saw hectic campaigning after the notification for the polls was issued on September 20. The results will be declared on October 19.

All major political parties have campaigned hard to garner votes. The Congress has sought votes on the issue of development, the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) on sympathy and the BJP in the name of Modi. Other parties like the Bhaujan Samaj party (BSP), Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC), Haryana Lokhit Party (HLP) and the Haryana Jan Chetna Party (HJCP) are seeking votes raising other issues. Each one of these parties, hopeful of grabbing substantial vote share, will have to wait till Sunday next to see how much impact they had on the voters’ mind. CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda ran the party campaign almost singlehandedly seeking votes for the development he brought to the state during the two consecutive terms that he was at the helm of affairs in this Jat-dominated state. Though Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi addressed rallies in Sirsa, Ganaur, Tosham, etc, Hooda remained the party’s star campaigner. The BJP sent its national leaders, including party president Amit Shah, to address rallies in the state. Shah created a virtual controversy by letting "mafia don-turned-politician" DP Yadav share the stage with him on two occasions.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed 12 rallies in the state. BJP brought in dozens of cine stars like Hema Malini, Venod Khanna, Manoj Tewari, etc, to woo voters.

The Jat-dominated INLD got a shot in the arm when party supremo OP Chautala, out on bail on medical grounds, undertook a whirlwind tour of the state and held road shows, passing through 35 to 40 villages in a day. Finally, the Delhi High Court took notice of his political activities and asked him to surrender. The INLD is now trying to garner as much votes as it can on the sympathy factor. Interestingly, the BJP and the HJC parted ways prior to filing of nominations. The BJP saw SAD, its alliance partner at the Centre, address rallies in favour of the INLD.

The BJP has made “dynastic politics” a major election issue and is seeking votes to rid Haryana of dynastic politics. The BJP has maintained that Haryana’s development has suffered because it has always been ruled by a few families.

Key contests

Garhi Sampla-Kiloi: Bhupinder Singh Hooda (Cong), Satish Nandal (inld), Dharamvir Hooda (bjp)

Mahendragarh: Ram Bilas Sharma (bjp), Rao Daan Singh (Cong), Nirmala Tanwar (INLD)

Adampur: Kuldeep Bishnoi (hjc), Kulbir Beniwal (inld), Satender Singh (Cong)

Kaithal: Randeep Surjewala (Cong), Kailash Bhagat (inld), Rao Surinder Singh (bjp)

Rewari: Capt Ajay Yadav (Cong), Randhir Kaprivaas (bjp), Satish Yadav (inld)

Sirsa: Gopal Kanda (hlp), Naveen Kedia (Cong), Sunita Setia (bjp), ML Singla (inld)

Uchana Kalan: Dushyant Chautala (inld), Prem Lata (bjp), Bhag Singh (Cong)





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