Meham assembly segment, a traditional Jat candidate seat that is being represented by Congress veteran and Jat leader Anand Singh Dangi since 2005, is set to witness a fierce battle this time even as the opposition parties, the INLD and Bharatiya Janata Party, are yet to select the names from the hordes of candidates who have queued up as ticket claimants.
While the Congress is almost sure to field Dangi as its nominee from politically-sensitive assembly segment Meham, the financially-strong political greenhorns have already started their campaign by projecting themselves as saffron party’s nominee to seek votes while riding high on the spectacular victory of the BJP on the Lok Sabha elections.
The BJP had won seven out of 10 Lok Sabha seats in Haryana, when Narendra Modi-led saffron party formed government at the Centre.
Shamsher Singh Kharkhara, who lost to Dangi in the 2009 assembly polls by a margin of 6,966 votes as an Independent candidate, BJP Mazdoor Morcha national vice-president Ramesh Balhara, neo-rich and first-timers Balraj Kundu and Saurabh Farmana are competing with each other to get the BJP ticket from Meham.
The image of Kharkhara, who gave a tough fight to Dangi in the last assembly polls, has taken a beating over his recent switches to the Indian National Lok Dal and then abruptly ending his ties and joining the saffron party after the BJP’s Lok Sabha victory. His once-loyal confidant Balraj Kundu, who was also his business partner, has also thrown his hat in the ring to negate the chances of Kharkhara as BJP candidate by pumping crores of rupees in form of advertisements.
Kundu’s mindless hoarding-spree on the national highways when BJP national president Amit Shah visited at Mahendergarh and Jind to attend rallies and during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Kaithal in August had overshadowed all other candidates who are in the race for the party candidature from Meham.
Sharing his grudge, Ramesh Balhara, party’s Mazdoor Morcha vice-president, said though it was up to the party to decide as whom they want to field from Meham, leaders like him have nurtured party in Haryana for the last 30 years when no one was there to take the name of BJP in the state.
On what factors would decide the victory of a candidate in the elections, Balhara said the candidate must be connected to roots, should one among them and people of this region have a penchant to teach lesson to those, who want to fool them by way of exaggeration.
From the INLD, for mer MLA Balbir Singh Malik alias Bali Pehalwan, who is on the run after jumping parole in a murder case, has been seeking ticket for his family member (wife).
Bali Pehalwan had lost his security deposit in the 2009 assembly polls. While Rajbir Saman, organisation secretary of Rohtak INLD; Sanjay Balhara, INLD Meham youth wing president; and Sheelu Pehalwan have also applied for ticket banking on their sway on youths and ground experience in Meham’s 42 villages.
Political experts said the Meham assembly segment, which voted hugely in favour of Congress candidate Deepender Singh Hooda in last Lok Sabha poll, when the Modi wave was at its peak, was not likely to be easily swayed by any propaganda or “wave”, but would vote for a candidate after assessing his background in the upcoming polls.
In the recent Lok Sabha polls, Deepender Hooda polled 61,982 votes, while Kharkhara (INLD) polled 38,709 and BJPs OP Dhankar got 11,384 votes in the Meham assembly segment.
TOMORROW: KARNAL ASSEMBLY CONSTITUENCY