Behind INLD's ticket strategy, caste calculations and family ties
The Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) has made some complex caste and community calculations in allocating tickets for the ensuing Lok Sabha elections, also keeping family, friendship and fraternity in mind.chandigarh Updated: Mar 16, 2014 00:19 IST
The Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) has made some complex caste and community calculations in allocating tickets for the ensuing Lok Sabha elections, also keeping family, friendship and fraternity in mind.
The party has fielded a Punjabi candidate, senior lawyer RK Anand, from Faridabad. He is seen as a close friend of Om Prakash's younger son, Abhey.
From the family of party supremo Om Prakash Chautala, comes his grandson Dushyant Chautala. Dushyant is the son of Ajay Chautala, who is in jail along with father Om Prakash in a teachers' recruitment scam. Besides the Jat vote, Dushyant would hope to get some sympathy for the alleged "framing" of his father and grandfather in the case.
Besides, a Jat Sikh and a Ramdassia Sikh have been fielded too - Pehowa MLA Jaswinder Singh Sandhu from Karnal the lone Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) MLA Charanjit Singh from Sirsa (reserved). The Akali MLA's choice as an INLD Lok Sabha candidate underlines how the SAD patriarch, Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, and the Chautalas remain thick even politically, despite the SAD being an ally of the BJP, which has shown little interest in allying with the INLD again.
Caste comes to fore in the choice of Rao Bahadur Singh from Bhiwani-Mahendergarh, too, and of Balbir Singh Saini from Kurukshetra - both are from Other Backward Classes (OBCs). The party hopes that the Yadav vote in Bhiwani-Mahendergarh goes its way if a Jat candidate enters the fray against sitting Congress MP Shruti Choudhry.
From the Ambala (reserved) seat, the INLD has fielded a woman Dalit candidate, Kusum Bala Sherwal. Both Sandhu and Saini represent the farmers' fraternity too.
Muslim leader Zakir Hussain has got the INLD ticket from Gurgaon against two Yadav candidates - three-time MP Rao Inderjit Singh, who recently left the Congress and is now the BJP candidate, and the Aam Aadami Party's Yogendra Yadav. The Congress is yet to name its candidate. The INLD's idea here is to garner the Meo Muslim vote, besides the party's own votebank of Jats. And it expects the Yadav vote to be divided.
In Karnal, Kurukshetra and Sirsa, the INLD has attempted to show that Sikhs, Punjabis and Sainis have a say in the party. Also, in Sonepat, the ticket to Padam Singh Dahiya, the INLD hopes, would get it votes from the Dahiyas, who are the leading gotra (sub-caste) of Jats along with Maliks.
Some observers, however, opine that Dhanak and Balmiki communities have been neglected in the ticket allocation.
The INLD also appears to have projected an educated face. Its Faridabad nominee, RK Anand, has been a Rajya Sabha member and chairman of the Delhi Bar Council. From Rohtak, the party has fielded Shamsher Singh Kharkadda, also a lawyer.
Ambala candidate Kusum has a PhD in Hindi, and even Dushyant Chautala, the eldest son of the party's secretary general Ajay Chautala, has a degree in business administration from the US.
Gurgaon nominee Zakir Hussain, from Mewat region, is the son of Tayyab Hussain, who was a minister in the Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan governments. Zakir is the chairman of several educational institutions besides the All India Mewati Panchayat and the Mewat Education Board.
The main focus anyhow seems to be on Hisar, Bhiwani, Sirsa, Gurgaon, Kurukshetra and Sonepat.