Cong expects tough contest in pampered constituency

  • Sat Singh, Hindustan Times, Rohtak
  • Updated: Sep 12, 2014 15:38 IST

In spite of being spoiled with huge development projects by the Congress government, the home turf of chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda is unlikely to return an easy assembly contest, as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has its state headquarters here, also wants this seat that has belonged to its stalwart leader Dr Mangelsen multiple times in the past.

The segment represented by Congress legislator Bharat Bhushan Batra, an advocate, is the stronghold of Punjabi community, which account for nearly 60,000 votes. The next are Jats, settled in outer colonies of the city. None of the political outfits has announce any candidate from here but sources confirmed that given his clean and honest image, BB Batra had good chance of being repeated by the Congress. He is handy MLA of the CM and his family.

From the BJP, state party secretary Manish Grover; Mast Nath University vice-chancellor and eye surgeon Dr. Markanday Ahuja; and advocate Shiv Raj Malik, all from Punjabi background, are in the race for ticket. Yogi Chand Nath, head of the Nath sect, is chancellor of Mast Nath University and an MP from Alwar in Rajasthan. Shiv Raj Malik is a relative of Congress Rajya Sabha member Shadi Lal Batra, who joined the BJP a few months ago.

There is a speculation that party senior leader with RSS background ML Khattar would be fielded from here after his candidature is being opposed from Karnal, since he hails from Banyani village of Rohtak district originally, though he is active in politics in Rohtak.

The Modi wave worked like magic here in the Lok Sabha elections, which gave the Congress managers a tough time. They had to rope in Asha Hooda, wife of the CM, for touring the assembly segment for seeking votes in the urban area to negate the Modi wave and the rise of the non-Jat factor.

Saffron party Lok Sabha candidate OP Dhankar, in spite of being a newcomer and fighting factionalism, had polled 41,932 voters against winning Congress candidate Deepender Singh Hooda, who is CM’s son. Deepender’s sub-par performance on his home turf gave a jolt to the CM ruling for the last nine years, who expected the contest to be one-sided.

From the Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC), former home minister Subhash Batra can throw his hat in the ring after he joined this party recently by deserting the Congress. Subhash was home minister from 1991 to 1996, when HJC supremo Kuldeep Bishnoi’s father, Bhajan Lal, was Haryana CM.

Manmohan Goyal, industrialist son of former Haryana minister and philanthropist Seth Sri Kishan Dass, has evinced interest in contesting from here. Goyal is brother-in-law of former Kurukshetra Congress MP and industrialist Naveen Jindal. Sources said he was in the final phase of talks with the INLD to contest as its candidate from Rohtak.

In the 2009 assembly poll, Manish Grover lost to Congress candidate BB Batra by 19, 595 votes. The nomination of Grover, who seeks BJP ticket from Rohtak for the fourth time, is opposed by insiders.
Former minister Subhash Batra said the money given for development under the Congress rule had never reached Rohtak but the saffron party had failed to oppose that. “It keeps playing a friendly match with the chief minister,” he said.

Rohtak MLA Batra said he had tried to ensure maximum development under his tenure and even his rivals would vouch for that.

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