Haryana’s politics has been synonymous with the ‘Aaya Ram, Gaya Ram’ culture — a phrase coined by former union home minister Yashwantrao Chawan in the late ’60s in light of defections which took place in the state. The words were inspired by Independent MLA Gaya Lal, who switched loyalties thrice in a day.
Though the anti-defection law has made things difficult for turncoats, the culture’s strains continue to bring infamy to the state as political parties across the spectrum deal with the trend. The latest examples are Congress MLA from Ambala City, Venod Sharma; former Congress MLA from Sohna and now BJP candidate from Bhiwani-Mahendergarh Lok Sabha seat, Dharambir Singh; and the Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC) candidate from Sirsa, Sushil Kumar Indora; and the BJP candidate from Gurgaon, Rao Inderjit Singh.
VENOD IN LURCH
A close pal of Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Venod Sharma dumped Hooda with the dream of making it to, first the BJP and then the HJC. But to his shock and surprise, both the BJP and its electoral ally HJC left the former minister in a lurch after promising him the Karnal seat initially. Sharma, who was probably the biggest beneficiary of the Congress rule in Haryana, politically as well financially, saw an end coming to Congress raj and decided to make a move at the opportune moment to protect his corporate interests.
His son Manu Sharma’s life term for the murder of model Jessica Lal still seems to be haunting his career.
Dharambir Singh, a Jat leader, was also known to enjoy the proximity of CM Hooda. In fact, Hooda was instrumental in getting Singh shifted to Sohna assembly segment in Gurgaon when he could not be accommodated in his home district of Bhiwani. Dharambir, who also remained chief parliamentary secretary (CPS) in the two successive Congress governments in Haryana, wielded a certain amount of influence in government functioning, particularly in the development and panchayats department as its CPS.
His hostility with the Bansi Lal family — now represented by Lal’s daughter-in-law Kiran Choudhry and her daughter Shruti — is well known. Singh knew that Kiran and Shruti, who is the sitting Congress MP from Bhiwani-Mahendergarh, were a major obstacle in his future political plans and would prevent him from contesting from Bhiwani district during the forthcoming assembly polls. Finding Congress on a downslide and his own political future bleak, Dharambir made a rapid and smooth switchover to the saffron party, getting the BJP ticket for the BhiwaniMahendergarh Lok Sabha seat.
A for mer INLD MP from Sirsa, Sushil Kumar Indora was brought into the Congress fold by Hooda during the 2009 polls. He lost from Kalanwali assembly seat but stayed put with the Congress for all these years hoping for an incentive. It nearly came to him as his name came in reckoning for a Congress ticket from Sirsa Lok Sabha seat.
However, after sitting Sirsa MP Ashok Tanwar decided to contest again, his hopes were dashed, and he was quick to capitalise on the change of seats between the BJP-HJC combine as he quit the Congress to shake hands with HJC supremo Kuldeep Bishnoi, who has fielded him from Sirsa.
INDERJIT GAVE ENOUGH SIGNS
Rao Inderjit Singh, an Ahir leader, had signaled his intentions to quit the Congress more than a year ago. The sitting Gurgaon MP’s continuous diatribes against Hooda on the issue of regional bias in terms of development and jobs, and attack on the first family (the Gandhis) of the Congress left him with hardly any choice.
Inderjit also formed a nonpolitical organisation – Haryana Insaaf Manch — but merged it with the saffron party as he shook hands with the BJP top brass last month. He was rewarded with a BJP ticket from Gurgaon.