Bharatiya Janata Party candidate from Rewari assembly constituency, Randhir Singh Kapriwas (68) is not tired of losing. He has never won any of the last four elections he fought from Rewari. Kapriwas remained second in 1996 and 2005 and was at third position in the 2000 and 2009 assembly elections.
This time, fighting his fifth election against state minister Captain Ajay Singh Yadav (57), Kapriwas is looking at his best chance in this Ahir-dominated seat. But Captain Yadav, who is seeking sixth consecutive victory this time, is confident. In his characteristic soft voice, he says, “I have defeated him a number of times. I will defeat him again.” Kapriwas is seeking votes in the name of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Gurgaon MP and minister of state for defence Rao Inderjit Singh. “You are watching TV. You know what Modi has done. Tum Narendra Modi ban jao, tum Rao Inderjit ban jao,” he says during a public meeting.
Rewari is part of Gurgaon Lok Sabha seat. Rao Inderjit had won by a margin of 2.74 lakh votes in the recent Lok Sabha elections and was seeking ticket for his daughter Aarti Rao from Rewari where he had secured a lead of 82,000 votes over his Congress rival. But the ticket was given to Kapriwas for whom he is now campaigning.
Kapriwas is projecting Rao Inderjit as chief ministerial candidate and the latter is also playing the same tune. “Today, the power is at your doorstep. Such an opportunity comes but rarely. These “Sirsawale and Rohtakwale” are selfish and do not care a hoot for people… (After the government is formed) you would say that this is our government… There is an opportunity for you to change the future,” said Rao Inderjit, while campaigning for Kapriwas at Gokalgarh. When asked specifically whether he is projecting himself as CM candidate, the Gurgaon MP said the party would decide on who would become chief minister.
‘Jobs have gone to Rohtak-wallahs’
Surprisingly, both candidates agree that jobs in the last 10 years have gone to chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda’s constituency.
Captain Yadav says, “I raised the issue of jobs. When Bhajan Lal was chief minister, he gave jobs to Hisar; when Bansi Lal got the chair he obliged Bhiwani and Bhupinder Singh Hooda gave jobs to Rohtak.
This tradition of showering jobs to people from particular constituency is quite old. I think that interview system for jobs should end.”
As per Kapriwas, “Neither Captain Yadav has tried nor he has power or capability to give jobs. He has only obliged his relatives.”
Besides, denial of jobs to Rewari, the latter’s development as compared to Rohtak is another issue here. “…The annual budget of Haryana is about Rs 30,000 crore and 60% of it comes from Gurgaon but majority is spent in Rohtak. They (Congress) have cut our nose…” says Rao Inderjit while campaigning for Kapriwas.
The BJP would have in place a system where there would be “no thanedar or kaptaan”, he added.
“He (Capt Yadav) has been power minister and he is not even able to provide clean drinking water here.
He resigned on issue of bias in development as compared to Rohtak. He said he was insulted but then soon took back his resignation. The issues of road, power and water are being raised,” Kapriwas told HT after a public meeting at an unauthorised colony in Uttam Nagar where he promised to get it “regularised”.
Captain Yadav, on the other hand, has been counting on setting up of a university, two colleges, a polytechnic, an engineering college and two railway over bridges while talking of development in the area.
Before Kapriwas’ arrival in Rewari city, a big screen is in place to screen political advertisements featuring Prime Minister Narendra Modi to keep people busy when the BJP candidate gets late. Also, some workers brought big placards with bells in their hands informing people about pressing the fourth button for the BJP candidate. Kapriwas is upset as it was not the fourth button and the placards mentioned it wrong.
Kapriwas has made a dent in the Congress votes as a number of present and former councillors, mostly from the Congress, have joined the BJP recently.
On the other hand, Captain Yadav is advertising a mobile number where people have to give a missed call to extend their support. “I start my day at 6.30 am and till 9 am we hold meetings with workers and strategise. I have already completed campaigning in villages, only the city is left,” he said. Both Kapriwas and Captain Yadav prefer Innovas for negotiating difficult and kutcha tracks in the constituency.