The going may not be easy for the Bharatiya Janata Party legislature group leader and sitting MLA Anil Vij if the Congress fields its senior leader Nirmal Singh from Ambala Cantt constituency for the October-15 assembly elections.
As of now, the BJP has fielded Vij and Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) Suraj Prakash Jindal from Ambala Cantt. The Congress, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC) and its ally Haryana Jan Chetna Party (HJCP) and Haryana Lokhit Party have not named their candidates.
Political observers foresee a keen contest between Vij and Nirmal Singh, who was unofficially given a go ahead by chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda during a workers’ meeting at former’s residence recently.
Singh, too, has remained MLA from neighbouring Naggal assembly constituency in 1982, 1991, 1996 and 2005. He also remained district Congress president.
Parts of Naggal seat were merged with Ambala Cantt and Ambala City seats. Vij defeated Singh in Ambala Cantt constituency in the 2009 assembly polls.
Nonetheless, Vij too enjoys significant support of the workers and the party. He won on BJP ticket in 1990, but parted ways in 1995 and contested the 1996 assembly polls as an Independent and won.
He again won as Independent in 2000, but lost in 2005 by a thin margin of 600 votes. The BJP took him back into its fold and gave him ticket in 2009, when he won again.
The INLD candidate, Suraj Prakash Jindal, has been actively associated with party activities for the past over five years and held various party posts and is district president.
Jindal, who is contesting an election for the first time, has launched his campaign full throttle. He is into real estate business.
Mehak Khanna (37), who is a BSP ticket aspirant comes from a business family and is also a social worker. She is graduate and unmarried and was initially associated with the Congress and later HJC.
At a recent rally of the BSP that was addressed by its chief ministerial candidate Arvind Sharma, Khanna was one of the main speakers.