In Haryana's Hisar, test of Bhupinder Singh Hooda popularity: Aide pitted against 3 Chautalas : The Tribune India

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In Haryana's Hisar, test of Bhupinder Singh Hooda popularity: Aide pitted against 3 Chautalas

In Haryana's Hisar, test of Bhupinder Singh Hooda popularity: Aide pitted against 3 Chautalas

Former CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda addresses a rally in Narnaund. File



Tribune News Service

Deepender Deswal

Hisar, May 22

In the Jat heartland of Hisar, where all four main Lok Sabha poll contestants belong to the Jat community, the elections are turning out to be a test of popularity for former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda in the three Jat belts of Deswali, Bagri and Bangar.

Ranjit Chautala andJai Prakash

With Hooda loyalist Jai Prakash of the Congress up against three candidates from the Chautala clan — BJP’s Ranjit Singh, JJP nominee Naina Chautala and INLD’s Sunaina Chautala — regional leaders of the Congress, who have considerable influence in the Hisar segment, are either reluctant or are giving a complete miss to the campaign.

Jai Prakash an old warhorse

  • Jai Prakash has contested seven LS elections from Hisar though he belongs to the Kalayat Assembly segment in Kaithal. He won thrice and lost four times
  • BJP candidate Ranjit Singh is banking on the saffron party’s traditional vote bank and is trying to make inroads into the Jat votes

Rural areas in the Narnaund, Uklana, Hansi, Barwala and Bawani Khera Assembly segments are part of the Deswali belt while the Adampur and Nalwa segments comprise the Bagri belt. The Uchana Kalan segment, which has 66 villages, is part of the Bangar belt.

However, despite the fact that the Congress has lost this seat in the past four consecutive elections — losing the security deposit each time — none of the star campaigners of the party have visited Hisar to drum up support for Jai Prakash except Hooda. Hooda addressed four public meetings in the Narnaund, Barwala, Adampur and Bawani Khera segments while his son Deepender Hooda paid a visit to the Hansi segment.

Significantly, Uchana Kalan is a stronghold of former Union minister Birender Singh, who has neither held a public meeting nor organised a roadshow along with Jai Prakash.

Though Jai Prakash visited him, Birender’s supporters questioned the Congress nominee for projecting Hooda as the chief ministerial candidate in Haryana.

Birender’s son, former BJP MP Brijendra Singh, who joined the Congress just before the elections and was hoping for the ticket, is busy campaigning for Sirsa candidate Kumari Selja.

Similarly, Birender and another leader Kiran Choudhary, who is the MLA from Tosham, are busy campaigning for Selja, who is contesting from the Sirsa seat. Selja, who belongs to the Uklana (reserved) Assembly segment in Hisar district and is a native of Hisar town, has a significant influence across the Hisar seat. However, she has not visited the place till now with just one day of campaigning left.

A close aide of Birender alleged that internal politics in the Haryana Congress had resulted in the denial of the ticket to Brijendra. “We have announced support to Jai Prakash,” he said.

Talking to The Tribune, Brijendra said the Uchana Kalan segment would give a considerable lead to the Congress candidate for the first time since 1991.

A political activist, Ramandeep Singh, said, “The Hisar Lok Sabha contest is a test of popularity for Hooda outside his home segment of Rohtak. He has managed the ticket for his loyalist Jai Prakash and it seems the Congress leadership has left it all to Hooda in Hisar.”

Targeting Hooda, BJP candidate Ranjit Singh said Jai Prakash was projecting Hooda as the chief ministerial candidate of Haryana during the ongoing campaign. “Hooda had discriminated against the Hisar region when he was the Chief Minister. Why will people vote for the Congress in the name of Hooda,” he asked. The performance of Naina and Sunaina could be the deciding factor in the Hisar poll as they will cut into the Jat votes. “Since the Congress is banking primarily on Jat voters, the significant dent in the Jat vote bank by the INLD and the JJP will hit its prospects. “With no Jat, non-Jat narrative this time, the Jat voters are also a bit confused whether to go with the Congress or any of the three Chautalas,” said Ramandeep Singh.

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#Bhupinder Hooda #Hisar #Lok Sabha


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