With saffron party securing a strong position in state’s political scape, it may not be a cakewalk for Congress stalwart this time, finds Sunit Dhawan
Garhi Sampla-Kiloi constituency, which falls in Rohtak district and forms part of the Rohtak Lok Sabha constituency, came into being before the 2009 elections to the Haryana Vidhan Sabha. It was carved out of two previous constituencies of Hassangarh and Kiloi.
The constituency is represented by two-time Haryana Chief Minister and veteran Congress leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda, who used to contest from Kiloi constituency earlier.
This Assembly segment is considered Hooda’s pocket borough. However, the emergence of the BJP on the state’s political horizon as a strong alternative ever since the last elections indicates that the upcoming Assembly poll may not be a cakewalk for the Congress stalwart this time. Shortage of drinking water, bad roads, erratic power supply and poor health services are the major concerns of the local residents. Residents of Bohar village lament that they get drinking water supply once in three days during peak summers.
Besides, owing to scarcity of space at Sanghi and Bhalauth grain markets, thousands of quintals of wheat has to be dumped in the open along canals and on the roadside every year and is at the mercy of rain gods.
The farmers are also not happy with the Prime Minister’s Crop Insurance Scheme, under which insurance premium is automatically deducted from the bank accounts of the farmers who have taken agricultural loans from banks.
However, the Hooda-versus-BJP narrative is so predominant here that it seems to have overshadowed the local issues, though the BJP’s clean sweep in Haryana in the recent Lok Sabha elections, Modi factor and people-centric issues like enhanced electricity supply to the villages also seem to occupy the minds of the electors.
“Hooda enjoys a deep-rooted and firm hold amongst the electors of the constituency by the virtue of the works done by him. But the Congress party, which he represents, is losing the support of the people. On the other hand, the BJP has become a rallying point for leaders of the other parties. Hence, the going may not be easy for Hooda this time,” observes Devraj Nandal, an eminent social figure of Bohar village, which falls under Garhi Sampla-Kiloi constituency.
He, however, points out that the leaders who are joining the BJP in hope of party ticket may switch loyalties in case they are not fielded by the saffron party, which may go in Hooda’s favour.
While the supporters of Hooda claim that he will win with a convincing margin this time as well, other electors of the constituency say that a lot would depend upon the candidate fielded by the BJP.
The recent inclusion of prominent Jat leaders of the constituency – former district president of INLD Satish Nandal and former district president of JJP Dharampal Makrauli – into the BJP has triggered speculations that the ruling party may field one of them against Hooda.
In case the Congress fields Hooda’s son and former Rohtak MP Deepender from Garhi Sampla-Kiloi this time, the BJP may place its bet on Satish Nandal’s son Sanchit, who had contested the recent mayoral election from Rohtak and emerged second runner-up.
Politically aware electors of the constituency believe that Hooda is still the tallest leader of the constituency and has a formidable mass-support base here, though the BJP leadership is focusing its attention on the Assembly segment.
Garhi Sampla-Kiloi is my own constituency. I have worked relentlessly for the people of my constituency and have got their whole-hearted support and blessings. We are fully prepared for the upcoming Assembly poll — Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Congress leader
I have joined the BJP with full commitment. If the party gives me ticket, I will give my 100 per cent to win the election. However, in case I do not get the ticket, I will give my 200 per cent to ensure the victory of the party candidate — Satish Nandal, BJP leader
Total voters: 2,02,202 (1,10,537 males | 91,665 females)
Sitting mla: Bhupinder Singh Hooda (Congress)
Likely contenders: Satish Nandal, Dharampal Makrauli or Sanchit Nandal from BJP
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