Despite giving mandate in favour of the Congress in the Lok Sabha elections and assembly polls in 2009, the Ahirwal belt comprising Rewari, Mahendergarh and Gurgaon districts has politically remained on the boil after sons of soil accused the state government of ignoring interests of the area.
Alleging bias in development, Rao Inderjit Singh, the then sitting Congress parliamentarian and veteran Ahir leader who is descendant of legendary Ahir leader Rao Tula Ram, switched sides to the Bharatiya Janata Party before the Lok Sabha elections.
Blowing hot and cold and alleging discrimination with Ahir youths in grant of jobs, six-time Rewari MLA and state minister Capt Ajay Yadav had also raised a storm by quitting the Congress,but returned to the party fold after being persuaded by party president Sonia Gandhi.
Rao Inderjit Singh, son of former chief minister late Rao Birender Singh, who is a union minister and the only man in the saffron party whose clout can help party win assembly seats in Rewari, Gurgaon and Mahendergarh as these districts are dominated by Ahir voters.
Inderjit’s brother Rao Raghuvender Singh is Congress MLA from Kosli segment. It was not for nothing that the-then prime ministerial nominee of the BJP, Narendra Modi had chosen the Ahir belt in 2013 to kickstart his national poll campaign by addressing a rally of ex-servicemen, who are present in significant numbers in this part of the state. Ahirwal is dominated by villages where every second house has someone in the defence services.
BJP national president Amit Shah also held first rally in the run up to the assembly elections at Mahendergarh on August 14, where ex-several MLAs and former ministers of the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) and Congress joined the saffron party.
The accusations of lopsided development are understandable when Rewari’s twin district Jhajjar got developmental projects like extension centre of AIIMS-2, IIT-2 and country’s biggest cancer institute and nuclear university. On the other hand, Congress stalwart from Rewari, Capt Ajay Yadav had to contend with the upgradation of regional education centre at Mirpur to a full-fletched university. People are bereft of amenities like potable water, electricity and smooth roads even in towns like Rewari, Mahendergarh and Narnaul.
Rao Inderjit’s charges of discrimination with Ahirland that were based on information sought under the Right To Information Act lent credence to the fact and it created quite a buzz before he formally ended his ties with the Congress.
Another descendent of former MLA Rao Mahavir Singh, Rao Nar
?b?ir Singh, also an ex-MLA and a known party hopper, is attempting to revive his political fortunes by jumping on to the saffron party bandwagon. He is BJP candidate from Badshahpur assembly segment.
Rao Narender Singh, who enjoyed a powerful portfolio in the Congress regime in the state, is contesting from Narnaul assembly segment. He is son of former MLA Rao Bansi Singh.
Rao Daan Singh, another chieftain from the Ahirland, who was among the favourites of chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, has had his share in the power pie by being chief parliamentary secretary.
Daan Singh is pitted against state BJP president Ram Bilas Sharma from Mahendergarh seat.
Political watchers say the task at hand for Capt Ajay Yadav, Rao Narendra Singh and Rao Daan Singh is to contain the strong undercurrent of change with multiplier effect of Modi and Rao Inderjit Singh, who is eyeing the chief minister’s chair.
The challenges before the saffron party is to get acceptance in the area where it has little presence earlier and the tag of turncoats attached to its leaders, including Rao Inderjit Singh.