Such is the presence and rhetoric of politicians in Dabwali segment and some neighbouring seats that you could well mistake this for a Punjab assembly election.
In Dabwali, on the one side is Punjab chief minister and Shiromani Akali Dal (DAL) patron Parkash Singh Badal campaigning for Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) candidate Naina Chautala, and on the other is cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu has been campaigning for Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Dev Kumar Sharma. Straining the relationship of the SAD and BJP, the two parties that are partners elsewhere and fighting each other in Haryana, Sidhu has been ballistic against the Badals.
And that’s not all.
Congress MP and former Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh has been on campaign trail here as well, seeking votes for party candidate KV Singh.
For the INLD-SAD alliance, this is a prestige seat as Naina is the wife of jailed INLD leader Ajay Singh Chautala and party supremo Om Prakash Chautala’s daughter-in-law.
Addressing a public meeting at Dabwali on Thursday, Amarinder challenged the INLD and BJP to name their CM candidates “if they really have any”: “Bhupinder Singh Hooda is and will be our chief minister.”
Attacking both Badal and Chautala, he underlined the irony of how “all over the rest of India Badal claims to be supporting the BJP here he is opposing them just for personal interests”: “This is just an example of their opportunism as they can stoop to any level where they see their personal benefit at the cost of the state.”
He reiterated how the Badals had “devastated” Punjab by “promoting the drug trade”. “An entire generation of our youngsters has been devastated by the drugs supplied by the Badals there, and I am sure they must be in search of more markets like Haryana. That is the reason they are aligning with Chautala, to extend and expand their drug business in this state.”
He later addressed public meetings at Rania for Ranjeet Singh and at Ratia in support of Jarnail Singh. He said Hooda had proved himself to be “a man of development”: “He deserves a chance as much as you deserve him to be your CM for another term.”
He asked people to compare Hooda’s rule with that of Chautala before that: “I think I don’t need to say much!”
In nearby Kalanwali, where the candidate is Akali, and also in Sirsa, SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal has already campaigned. Another seat that the SAD is fighting as part of seat-sharing is Ambala City.
‘Fed up with Hooda’
The SAD has also sent other senior leaders to campaign here. On Thursday, Punjab’s former minister Bibi Upinderjit Kaur addressed a public meeting in Rania for INLD’s Ramchandra Kamboj.
She called for change and said, “People are completely fed up with the Hooda government. CM Hooda has only developed Rohtak.”
She also stressed that the SAD and INLD “have heartily relations”, and alleged that the Congress government had not carried out development in Rania “because it is Chautala’s hometown area”.
Meanwhile, Sukhbir campaigned in Panchkula and the surrounding region.