With two of its key leaders switching loyalties to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) last month, it has become a challenge for the Congress to find a suitable candidate from Thanesar assembly segment.
Being represented by Ashok Arora, the four-time legislator of the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), the constituency is expected to face a direct contest between the INLD and BJP.
Arora, state president of the INLD, has once again emerged as the choice of his party for this segment of Kurukshetra parliamentary constituency since the 1990 byelection.
Before they joined the BJP last month, Subhash Sudha and Jai Bhagwan Sharma were once considered confidants of chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda.
Sudha was appointed member of the State Finance Commission in 2013. He had unsuccessfully contested the 2009 assembly elections from Thanesar as an Independent. Flaunting his caste clout, Sudha, a Punjabi leader, had joined the Congress.
Sharma joined the Congress after quitting the INLD in 2009. Such was his political clout that he superseded Congress leaders and was appointed president of the Kurukshetra district Congress committee.
Known as the blue-eyed man of Hooda, Sharma once again changed his political loyalty and this time has joined the BJP, hoping to get ticket.
Since their Congress days both Sudha and Sharma had strained political relations due to their political aspirations for Thanesar seat and now they are in the BJP with the same equation.
BJP’s district chief Dhuman Singh Bura from Kirmach village is being seen as frontrunner from Thanesar. A novice to the electoral politics, Bura is seen as a team leader to popularise the party in the rural segment.
An advocate by profession, this young leader is banking on his being a Jat. He is considered close to national spokesman of the BJP and a strong contender for the chief ministerial post, Capt Abhimanyu, who is also a Jat leader from Rohtak.
Sources said the Congress may try to woo zila parishad chairman Praveen Chaudhary, an INLD leader, and field from Thanesar.
The Haryana Janhit Congress-Haryana Janchetna Party (HJP) alliance may field Venod Sharma, president of the newly-formed HJP from Thanesar.
Political observers say as the segment has a considerable number of non-Jat voters, Venod or BJP’s Jai Bhagwan Sharma may also be considered to woo Brahmin and Bania voters.
In the recent parliamentary elections, industrialist Naveen Jindal, who had represented Kurukshetra for two consecutive terms since 2004 had lost to Raj Kumar Saini of the BJP. Jindal had finished third in the LS elections. Saini polled 57,799 votes from Thanesar segment, whereas Jindal had secured 26,694 votes. Balbir Singh Saini of the INLD got 24,337 votes from Thanesar. Balbir, a close relative of the BJP MP, has left the INLD recently to join the BJP.