The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is fighting the Haryana assembly elections without naming a chief ministerial candidate, and the opposition is targeting it over being “leaderless”. In such a scenario, the formal stand is that the party's legislature party board will decide the CM upon getting majority. But it also means that every BJP leader worth his salt is being projected by their workers as the CM in his area of influence.
One of them is Union minister and former state BJP chief Krishan Pal Gurjar, who is MP from Faridabad. Though Gurjar himself has never claimed to be a CM candidate, wherever he is campaigning in Faridabad's nine assembly constituencies he gets a rousing welcome as the state's future CM: “Hamara CM kaisa ho? Krishan Pal Gurjar jaisa ho!” And he responds diplomatically. “You must strengthen me by ?making all the nine BJP candidates win their respective constituencies, and I assure you that in return I will get power here,” he says, addressing a public gathering in Nawada village in Prithla segment while campaigning for BJP candidate Nayanpal Rawat.
Apart from other constituencies in the state where the Gurjar (or Gujjar) community has a presence, he is spending most of his time in the assembly seats that comes under ?the Faridabad parliamentary seat. Here, the BJP had got a lead in all nine segment in the Lok Sabha polls.
Speaking of region
His day starts early, meeting people at his office near his residence at Sector 28, Faridabad, and then his tour programme starts and he is up till late night.
“We want a BJP government in the state too (like at the Centre), and we all are collectively working to achieve our target of 50+ seats,” he says.
A popular sentiment is that earlier the CMs have come from the Bagri belt (Sirsa, Hisar and Bhiwani) or Deswali belt (Rohtak?, Jhajjar and Sonepat) like incumbent Bhupinder Singh Hooda. Thus, the rest of the state has felt ignored on the development front as well as in government job distribution. Hoping to see power flow into Faridabad through Gurjar, there is palpable enthusiasm among voters in the rural areas here. Candidates hope to sail with the trend. “The area has always been ignored… All I can say is that you will not be voting for me, but actually for Gurjar-ji… and in return you will see development coming to this part of Haryana,” says Rawat. “This is not MLA election. This is for picking the next chief minister. If you want Gurjar bhai to be the CM, make the BJP candidates victorious from all nine seats in Faridabad. You must be having relatives in the nearby constituencies too, so ask them to vote for BJP,” urge other supporters.
Gurjar, who is the first Union minister from the Faridabad seat, plays the card without expressly staking a claim to the post. But it’s rather obvious when he tells voters: “I am lucky because of the support I have got in the party. In 1996, I became MLA for the first time, and on my debut I became a minister. Now as I debuted in the Lok Sabha I got a central ministry. So, you do your bit by voting for the BJP, and I will manage the rest!”
Gurjar’s digs at the opposition also underline his target, as no one other than the CM candidates of other parties is on his radar. “(INLD chief Om Prakash) Chautala says he will break the jail and come out. He should know that he has been sentenced for 10 years (in the JBT scam). I don’t know why he is trying to befool the public. Hooda enhanced the old age pension from November 1; he knew that he wouldn't be CM by that time, so make whatever promises he could. And what to say about Kuldeep Bishnoi!” he says.
Having won the LS poll with a record 3.5-lakh margin, Gurjar says he expects the same turnout in favour of the BJP. About support galvanised by PM Narendra Modi, he claims, “The Modi wave has grown into a cyclone, and it has impact on the entire state. Faridabad is not an exception.”
When asked straight up about him being a CM candidate, Gurjar is quick to interrupt: “The party will decide. I am working for the party.”
Travel: Uses Toyota Innova. Convoy has three other vehicles.
Sartorial statement: White kurta-pajama with Nehru jacket.
Focus area: Apart from seats having Gurjar (or Gujjar) community votes in Haryana, he is actively campaigning in all nine Vidhan Sabha seats that fall in his Faridabad parliamentary constituency.