Forty-seven years since Haryana’s inception, water, electricity, smooth roads and government hospitals equipped with medicines and staff are a scarcity in this constituency of the Ahirwal belt, where October-15 assembly election is being fought on caste lines.
Nangal Chaudhary constituency in Mahendergarh district, which shares border with Kotputli town of Jaipur district (Rajasthan), is dominated by the Ahir community, followed by Gurjars and Jats. The constituency came into existence during delimitation in 2009 from parts of Ateli and Narnaul segments.
In 2009 polls, Bahadur Singh from the Ahir community trounced Congress candidate Radhey Shyam, a Brahmin, by a margin of 11,663 votes.
This time, Abhe Singh Yadav, a native of Dhani Mamraj village, has entered the fray after taking voluntary retirement from his IAS service 18 months earlier. Initially, he joined the Indian National Lok Dal, but on being denied ticket switched loyalties to the BJP and is the saffron party candidate.
“Abhe (popularly called as ‘Saab’) got BJP ticket on the 20th day of his joining the party formally through Yoga guru Ramdev route,” confided a loyalist of the BJP candidate, who had served as deputy commissioner in several districts of Haryana. Baba Ramdev native village – Alipur is also in Mahendergarh district.
“Agar apko apna MLA banana hain to mujhe vote dena. Or meray say koi anjanay mein galti ho gayi ho, to maaf karna (Vote for me if you want to elect your own MLA. Forgive me if I have committed any mistake in the past),” said Yadav at Muladhi, an Ahir-dominated village. After he completed his public address in which he did not mention issues of water and electricity at the house a property dealer, Yadav was weighed in ‘laddoos’. Later talking to HT, Yadav, dressed his bureaucratic attire — pant-shirt with black shoes — said he had comprehensive plans to end water woes of the constituency.
Asked why he does not wear ‘kurta-pyjama’ as most politicians do, in his electoral debut Yadav said, “Pehlay seat ko pakki kar loon, 19 October kay baad pehanuga, agar ban gaya to (Let me get elected as MLA first. On October 19 (counting day), I will wear kurta-pyjama, if I win).”
As per Sri Ram Numberdar, an octogenarian farmer of this village, they had to draw water through a borewell or tubewells from a depth of over 1,000 ft. On being asked that why they still prefer to vote on caste lines, Suraj Bhan, another elderly villager, said: “Jab kissi nay kuch karna nahi hain, to kam say kam apni jaat waly ko hi vote daal dein (When nobody is going to redress our grievances, why not vote for someone from our own caste).”
When HT team reached Balan Kalan village of the constituency as per the schedule the INLD candidate, Manju Chaudhary, she was running late by one-and-a-half-hours. Her husband Mula Ram and father-in-law Phoosa Ram had remained MLAs previously.
Spotting a media team, an elderly man said, “She will be here soon. Though Manju hails from the Gurjar community, she will surely bag several votes from this village despite the fact it is dominated by the Ahir community.”
On being asked the reason, he said, “INLD supremo Om Prakash Chautala as chief minister had helped several Ahir youths during his party’s rule.”
Manju recalls how Chautala is better for the farming community than the BJP, which is a pro-businessmen party and the Congress, a party of property dealers. Urging the electorate to rise above caste lines on the polling day, she said her party would ensure water, electricity and roads to electorate.
Manju’s programme ended on a sour note, as she survived a fall. When organisers made her sit on a measurement scale to weigh her in 80kg apples, several youths pounced on apples even before she had sat on the weighing scale.
Of Red beacons
At a public meeting, attacking BJP candidate Abhe Singh Yadav, Manju, a matriculate, said, “Uskay ghar mein chha lal batiya hain, jo raat ko jalti hain, or logo kar ghar zakar, unke baccho ko naukari ka vada karti hain. Jo log pichlay tees saalo mein naukri nahi dein paya, wo ab kya dega (Six members of his family, who are also bureaucrats and are allotted red beacons, give false hope to people by visiting their houses at night and saying their sons would be given a government job, if they support Abhe Singh Yadav. If he could not give jobs in 30 years as a high class officer, then how will they give them jobs now)?”
Congress candidate and independent
The ruling Congress has fielded old-time worker Chander Prakash this time. The decision, however, did not go down well with another Congress leader, Radhey Shyam, who remained runners-up in the 2009 assembly poll. Radhey Shyam is contesting as an Independent candidate this time. Shyam had bagged 21,321 votes against winning candidate Bahadur Singh of the INLD in last assembly elections.