INLD names candidate, several eyeing BJP ticket

  • Vishal Joshi, Hindustan Times, Indri (Karnal)
  • Updated: Sep 20, 2014 14:22 IST

Following media speculations that chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda may contest from Indri, this pre-dominantly rural constituency is in the spotlight.

While the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) has fielded Usha Rani Kashyap, a political greenhorn, the Haryana Janhit Congress is almost sure to field Rakesh Kamboj from here.

Several BJP leaders, including Dharam Pal Shandilya, who had unsuccessfully contested last assembly election and Mahinder Singh Panjokhara, are among frontrunners for saffron party ticket.

Usha is wife of the sitting INLD legislator Ashok Kashyap, while Kamboj is a former MLA from Indri.

Kashyap had won the 2009 election after defeating three-time legislator Bhim Sen Mehta of the Congress by 9,097 votes.

A confidant of HJC president Kuldeep Bishnoi, Kamboj was elected in 2005 after he defeated Mehta, then an Independent, by 19,578 votes.

After Bishnoi left the Congress and formed the HJC, Kamboj resigned from the assembly to join the new party.

In the May 2008 bypoll, Mehta joined the Congress and defeated Kamboj by 5,865 votes while the INLD nominee remained far behind.

But in the assembly elections held in 2009, Mehta, a former minister, suffered defeat at the hands of Kashyap, who was contesting his first election. Earlier, Mehta had won twice as Independent from Indri.

In August, Hooda at a political rally held here had said he was willing to contest assembly election from Indri, if the Congress leadership allowed.

While it is seen as a clear indication of Hooda’s political strategy to break his pro-Jat image and allegations of consolidating development in his home district Rohtak, political observers opine that at the time of public address, Hooda was trying to woo the neglected voters.

“After assuming power for the second consecutive term in 2009, Hooda ignored Indri and did not hold any official function in the constituency represented by an opposition legislator. Though Hooda’s plan to contest from here cannot be ruled out completely but it would not be a cakewalk for him. It will certainly become the most important segment if CM contests from Indri also,” said a political observer.

Kambojs are the largest community in this segment that also has several other castes. Jats, Punjabis and Kashyaps are in a sizeable number and the caste equations play a significant role in the success of a candidate.

However, after the results of the Lok Sabha elections, the BJP is also fancying its chances in Indri. BJP’s candidate Ashwini Kumar Chopra “Minna” had got a lead of more than 45,000 votes from Indri segment over its nearest rival Arvind Sharma of the Congress, who is now a BSP leader, in the Karnal parliamentary seat.

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