Political opportunism, for which the state is notorious, came to fore again on Saturday when Rao Surender Singh was nominated as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate from Kaithal in less than four hours of he joined the saffron party.
State president of farmers’ cell of the Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC), Singh was projected as the party candidate from Kaithal by the HJC chief Kuldeep Bishnoi in June.
Though the HJC is yet to declare list of its candidates, Singh, an influential Gujjar leader, started his election campaign weeks ago under the banner of the HJC.
A release announcing Singh’s resignation from the HJC was issued at 6.20 pm on Saturday and a couple of hours later, he was declared as the BJP candidate.
Earlier, name of Ashok Saraf, a political greenhorn and brother of top Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) leader Indresh Kumar, was doing the rounds as the possible candidate of the BJP. Saraf was never engaged in the BJP’s activities but was banking on in his brother’s influence.
The Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) has nominated Kailash Bhagat from the constituency being represented by state public works department (PWD) minister and national spokesman of the All India Congress Committee (AICC) Randeep Singh Surjewala.
The Congress is expected to field Surjewala again.
Son of veteran Congress leader Shamsher Singh Surjewala, Randeep Surjewala took on the then chief minister and INLD president Om Prakash Chautala from the Jat-dominated Narwana assembly constituency in Jind district for four times. In the 2009 assembly elections, he was elected for the second time.
Kaithal is part of Kurukshetra parliamentary segment, which is being represented by BJP’s Raj Kumar Saini. Saini had defeated two-time Congress MP Naveen Jindal, who was the second runners-up after the Indian National Lok Dal’s Balbir Saini.
In the Lok Sabha elections, the BJP took an impressive lead of more than 13,000 votes from the Jat-dominated Kaithal assembly segment. The BJP is hoping the continuation of the trend that started with Lok Sabha polls and is hoping to gain in the assembly election.
However, political observers opine that the caste considerations would play an important role in this Jat-dominated segment.
“The constituency is an interesting combination of urban and rural voters. While the Congress seems to have an edge in the urban areas due to impressive development initiatives taken by Surjewala, the INLD hopes to retain its rural vote bank. However, the BJP is largely relying on its performance in the LS elections,” said an observer.