Caste factor likely to play key role in selection of candidates

  • Vishal Joshi, Hindustan Times, Ladwa(Kurukshetra)
  • Updated: Sep 17, 2014 19:41 IST

The caste factor is expected to play an important role in the nomination of candidates from Ladwa assembly segment, which is part of Kurukshetra parliamentary constituency.

While the Bharatiya Janata Party has fielded Pawan Saini, a greenhorn to electoral politics from this constituency dominated by the Saini community, other major political parties, including the Congress and Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), are yet to announce their candidates.

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Having a background of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and national executive of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the saffron party's student wing, Saini is manager of a prestigious girls' school at Kurukshetra city.

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Ladwa constituency is presently being represented by Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) MLA Sher Singh Badshami. The constituency has nearly 31,000 votes of Sainis, 26,000 Jats and 15,000 Kashyaps and the caste may determine winnability of a candidate.

A confidant of INLD president and former chief minister Om Prakash Chautala, Badshami is convicted in Junior Basic Teachers' (JBT) recruitment scam.

However, according to the INLD sources, the party is waiting for some kind of judicial relief to Badshami, who along with top party leaders, including Chautala and his son Ajay Singh Chautala, has been sentenced to jail, before finalising any name.

"If there is no legal hiccup, the party would field Badshami. Otherwise his wife Bachan Kaur, a political novice, may be preferred by the INLD," said a party leader.

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After delimitation of constituencies, Ladwa was carved out of Thanesar and an assembly segment status was granted to it in the 2009 assembly polls.

In 2009, Badshami had defeated Kailasho Saini, a former two-time INLD parliamentarian, of the Congress by a margin of 2,505 votes.

The second runners-up, BJP's Mewa Singh, had secured 21,775 votes while a rebel Congress leader, Pawan Garg, had contested as an Independent and managed fourth position with 15,081 votes.

During the recent Lok Sabha elections, BJP's Raj Kumar Saini won Kurukshetra seat and managed an impressive lead of more than 20,000 votes from Ladwa.

Two-time Congress MP Naveen Jindal had secured 33,786 votes while the INLD candidate got 30,237 votes from Ladwa.

Owing to her clout in her Saini community, the Congress may field Kailasho Saini from Ladwa.

Though the BJP is considering it as an easy seat to win after its good showing in the LS polls, its rebel leader is posing a grave threat to the party. Annoyed over not getting BJP ticket, an affluent businessman, Jatinder Singh Khurdban aka Kaka, has announced to contest as an Independent.

Kaka had joined the BJP ahead of the parliamentary elections but has now decided to give a challenge to the party candidate.

Political observers say being a Jat Sikh, Kaka would affect BJP's electoral prospects due to his influence in his home constituency.

Also, as the Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC) leader Deep Saini is also eyeing ticket, Saini votes may be divided between candidates from the community and Jats votes may be consolidated to the INLD.

"It is expected to be an interesting electoral battle at Ladwa. While the Congress, BJP and HJC will exploit the corruption issue against the sitting INLD MLA, the opposition would target poor development of this constituency. But it will be the caste factor that will decide the electoral fate of the candidates," said an analyst.

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