The Rohtak parliamentary constituency comprising Rohtak, Jhajjar and Kosli (Rewari) has earned the distinction of giving a Deputy Prime Minister, a Chief Minister and the youngest Member of Parliament (MP).
Choudhary Devi Lal won the Rohtak Lok Sabha seat defeating sitting MP Hardwari Lal in the 1989 elections by a comfortable margin of 1.89 lakh votes and became Deputy Prime Minister while Bhupinder Singh Hooda was the MP from Rohtak when he was appointed Haryana Chief Minister in 2005.
Hooda’s appointment as Chief Minister necessitated a byelection on the Rohtak parliamentary seat and he launched his son Deepender Hooda (27) into electoral politics. Deepender won the byelection defeating BJP candidate Capt Abhimanyu and became the youngest MP of the 14th Lok Sabha. He secured 66.87 per cent votes.
In the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, Deepender again won the seat with a record margin of 445,736 votes.
The record of victory by the lowest margin exists in the name of Bhupinder Singh Hooda, who defeated Chaudhary Devi Lal by a narrow margin of 383 votes in the 1998 Lok Sabha elections. Hooda had defeated Chaudhary Devi Lal in the 1991 and 1996 parliamentary elections also.
The Rohtak seat has been the bastion of the Hooda family since 1952; Hoodas have won the seat nine times. Chaudhary Ranbir Singh, father of Bhupinder Hooda, had won the seat twice, Hooda had won it four times while Deepender Hooda has made a hat-trick of victory.
Deepender is in the fray from the seat for the fourth time and seeking re-election on the basis of development works undertaken during the Congress regime from 2005 to 2014. The BJP has fielded three-time MP Arvind Sharma (twice from Karnal and once from Sonepat).
In 1952 when Haryana was then part of Punjab, Ranbir Singh won the elections as the Congress candidate defeating Jamindar Party candidate Hari Ram. He secured 42.71 per cent votes. Ranbir retained the seat in the 1957 elections defeating Independent candidate Dhajja Ram while Bharatiya Jan Sangh (BJS) candidate Ram Chander remained third.
In the 1962 parliamentary elections, BJS candidate Lehri Singh wrested the Rohtak seat defeating Congress candidate Randhir Singh, a resident of Baiyapur village in Sonepat, with a margin of 20,000 votes. However, after the inception of Haryana, Randhir Singh won the seat in the 1967 elections defeating BJS candidate Ram Swarup by 55,596 votes. In the 1971 Lok Sabha elections, BJS candidate Mukhtiar Singh defeated Congress candidate Randhir Singh by a small margin of 4,671 votes.
“The then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi imposed Emergency, and the Congress lost all 10 seats in the 1977 Lok Sabha elections to the Bharatiya Lok Dal (BLD). BLD candidate Sher Singh won the Rohtak seat by 259,645 votes. In the 1980 Lok Sabha elections, Janta Party (Secular) candidate Indervesh defeated Janta Party candidate Sher Singh by a margin of 111,440 votes. However, following strong sentiments generated due to Indira Gandhi’s assassination, the Congress captured all 10 seats in Haryana in the 1984 parliamentary elections. Congress candidate Hardwari Lal won the Rohtak seat defeating Lok Dal candidate Swarup Singh by 30,931 votes,” says Prof SS Chahar, former Director, Centre for Haryana Studies, MDU, Rohtak.
In 1989, Chaudhary Devi Lal contested the Lok Sabha elections on the Janta Dal ticket from three seats — Rohtak, Sikar (Rajasthan) and Ferozepur (Punjab) and emerged victorious from Rohtak and Sikar. But he preferred to resign from the Rohtak seat and became Deputy Prime Minister while retaining the Sikar seat.
Hooda fought the Lok Sabha elections for the first time in 1991 after losing the Assembly elections from Kiloi in 1982 and 1987.
In the 1999 elections, Bhupinder Hooda lost to INLD candidate and political greenhorn Capt Inder Singh by a margin of 144,693 votes due to the Kargil War effect. The INLD—BJP alliance secured all 10 seats in Haryana but the Congress reversed the position in 2004 by winning nine of the 10 seats. Bhupinder Hooda defeated BJP candidate Capt Abhimanyu from the Rohtak seat by a margin of 150,435 votes.
Leaving Rohtak seat proved costly for Devi Lal
"Chaudhary Devi Lal’s decision to leave the Rohtak seat sparked discontentment among voters who did not let him win any election from Rohtak later on. The situation went in favour of Bhupinder Singh Hooda, as people voted against Devi Lal in the 1991 Lok Sabha elections to teach him a lesson. Hooda not only won the elections but also defeated Devi Lal in the next two elections in 1996 and 1998." — SS Chahar, Former Director, Centre for Haryana Studies, MDU, Rohtak
A Jat-dominant seat
"Jats have been representing the Rohtak seat since the first General Elections in 1951. Before Independence, the Rohtak region led by peasant leader Sir Chhotu Ram was anti-Congress but the party managed to establish its base here after his demise. This Jat-dominant region has never supported a particular ideology. Even the Bharatiya Jan Sangh won the seat in 1962 and 1971 but the winning candidates were again Jats" — Satish Tyagi, Political analyst and author
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