In his fourth electoral battle, BJP’s Captain Abhimanyu Singh is fighting against his own past unsuccessful electoral stints as much as against his opponents, in the Jat-dominated Narnaund seat where nine from his own community are in the poll fray.The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national spokesman has a flourishing coal mine business and also runs a newspaper. Singh, who is being touted as the chief ministerial candidate in BJP quarters, has so far unsuccessfully contested two parliamentary elections from Rohtak — against chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda in 2004 and against his son Deepender Hooda in 2005.
After his unsuccessful electoral forays in Rohtak, he shifted to his home turf Narnaund in the 2009 assembly elections and secured 37,000 votes from here against sitting MLA Saroj Mor, wife of Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) candidate Raj Singh Mor.
Modi wave enough?
Though riding high on the Modi wave, the BJP leader still faces a tough challenge in this election, even as party national president Amit Shah hinted at Narnaund getting ‘chaudhar’ (chief ministership) if Abhimanyu was elected and the BJP came to power in Haryana, at a recent rally in the area.
The seat where Jats account for 49% of the total 1,86,120 voters, Singh has competing against him two main contenders from the community — Raj Singh Mor from the Indian National Lok Dal and former student leader and Congress candidate Rajbir Sandhu. Mor’s wife, who is sitting MLA won the 2009 election with a margin of 10,000 votes. In the recently held parliamentary polls, INLD candidate Dushyant Chautala got a lead of 43,000 votes from the Narnaund seat, against Haryana Janhit Congress’ (HJC) Kuldeep Bishnoi.
Narnaund is a part of the Hisar parliament seat, thus indicating the strengths of INLD in the segment.
Though Congress candidate Sandhu is fighting from the seat for the first time, the party has influence among SCs and BCs, a traditional Congress vote bank.
Caste equationThe contest has become more interesting in the seat where the electorate is known to vote on caste lines. Besides the INLD, Congress and the BJP, six other Jat candidates are in the fray.
Another key player in this segment is Ram Kumar Gautam, an influential Brahmin candidate who won the seat in the 2005 assembly elections on a BJP ticket and also stood second in the 2009 assembly elections.
His two-day bike road show on Saturday and Sunday where over 2,000 bikers rallied for twelve hours each day gave sleepless nights to the others.
Gautam also enjoys support in all non-Jat quarters and is emerging a key player with half the voters in the seat being non-Jats.
Even before he grabs a mike to address the gathering at Koath Kalan village, chants of “Agla chief minister kaisa ho, Abhimanyu jaise ho” have started.
Amit Shah’s rally where he hinted at Abhimanyu getting the top seat has made all the difference for him. He also appears to be making the most of it. “You have seen how constituencies of CMs develop. I have myself seen this living in Rohtak. This is one of the most backward areas. Don’t waste the opportunity,” says Abhimanyu to a roaring crowd.
Sitting in his Land Cruiser, as he heads to Mehjad village accompanied by his convoy, he says, “The BJP will decide the chief minister. But, I am talking about the aspirations of Narnaund’s people that I should be the CM.” in response to how he was talking about the top post when the BJP is yet to declare the candidate.
Amenities no issue?
Sadly, in a constituency lacking in good roads, basic amenities in villages, development issues have taken a backseat as vigorous discussions are on about Abhimanyu’s prospective chief ministership and the conviction of Om Prakash Chautala and his son in a teachers’ recruitment scam.
Locals hold that the constituency had always sent MLAs to Vidhan Sabha to sit in the opposition, except once. This, they say, is the reason for the poor development.
Meanwhile, Raj Singh Mor who has taken voluntary retirement from police services to jump into elections, took a backseat in the campaign on Sunday as INLD MP Dushyant Chautala led his campaign. The frail looking Mor is banking on the INLD’s success in the recently held Lok Sabha elections where Dushyant Chautala got a lead of 43,000 votes against HJC’s Kuldeep Bishnoi in this segment.
“We were in the opposition. Still, my wife took up a lot of issues. The Congress is to blame for poor development. The Chautalas are coming to power. We will change the segment in the next five years,” said Mor.
Speaking about his opponent Abhimanyu Singh, Mor says, “Abhimanyu will become the CM only if he wins. Na nou man tel hoga na Radha nachegi,” he says with a smile.