It is Independent versus outsider in Karnal | chandigarh | Hindustan Times
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It is Independent versus outsider in Karnal

chandigarh Updated: Oct 10, 2014 14:26 IST
Vishal Joshi
Vishal Joshi
Hindustan Times
Independent

It is a battle of first-time candidates from major parties, and an independent in this constituency dominated by the Punjabi-speaking community.

While the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has fielded Manohar Lal Khattar, a member of the party’s national executive committee, the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) candidate is deputy mayor Manoj Wadhwa.

Former district president of Congress (rural) Surinder Narwal is the party’s nominee and Tej Pal Garg represents the Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC).

However, the contest is largely between Khattar, who is seen as a hot contender for the CM post, and an independent Jai Prakash Gupta.

Gupta, a two-time legislator, has remained a key player in assembly elections for the past 27 years. He has contested the last six assembly polls and won twice on the Congress ticket. On the other occasions, he came second as an Independent and HJC candidate.

The 73-year-old Gupta, an affluent leader from a family of businessmen, is known to introduce voters as the key candidate.

“I rejected all offers from various political parties in order to contest as an Independent for my constituency’s welfare. I feel there will be a hung assembly and in such a circumstance, an independent will have the most important role. If you elect me, I will be in a position to bring the best development projects to this segment,” says JP to a gathering in Prithi Colony.

Highlighting two-time Congress legislator Sumita Singh’s failures, JP says, “Karnal had a great chance but the Congress MLA failed to bring in any major development works. Despite promises, unregulated colonies have failed to see any development and there is a leadership crisis in other parties also. BJP nominee Khattar does not even belong to this area and he is being forced on the people.”

Sumita Singh is contesting from Assandh this time.

Ruing that the media had not paid him enough attention, he said his supporters were pooling in money to arrange nukkar meetings for him.

The veteran politician, who has an influence in the outer colonies, is banking on their loyalty.

On the other hand, Khattar, a leader with a strong RSS background, promises transparency in the government. His nomination earned the ire of the local leaders who were against nominating an outsider. The district unit of the party even wrote to the central leadership about cancellation of Khattar’s candidature.

Addressing a gathering at Jyoti Nagar, Khattar says, “BJP assures an effective administration with no place for goondaism. Respective governments have neglected Karnal and other adjoining districts. Give us absolute majority for inclusive development.” Khattar is even being addressed as the future CM at Palam Colony, his last campaign venue for the day.

“If voted to power, regulisation of colonies will be the top priority. Youths will get their share of employment in a transparent manner,” he says.

Key contestants

While the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has fielded Manohar Lal Khattar, a member of the party’s national executive committee, the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) candidate is deputy mayor Manoj Wadhwa.

Former district president of Congress (rural) Surinder Narwal is the party’s nominee and Tej Pal Garg represents the Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC).

BJP: Manohar Lal Khattar
INLD: Manoj Wadhwa
HJC: Tej Pal Garg
Congress: Surinder Narwal
Independent: Jai Prakash Gupta

Caste/community composition

Punjabi: 50,000

Baniya: 17,000

Brahmin:
12,000

Jat: 9,000

Ror: 8,000

Sikhs:
7,500

Total voters: 2.01 lakh

2009 poll result: Congress’ Sumita Singh defeated HJC’s JP Gupta with 3,731 votes.