An otherwise listless contest for a Lok Sabha by-election in the Haryana pocketborough of a former Congressman has come to life with Anna Hazare's campaign to defeat Congress on the Lokpal issue. With three political heavyweights locked in a triangular contest, the battle for the Hisar seat has turned fierce, but ruling Congress’ worries have increased as it has to fight not only its opponents but also tackle Team Hazare's campaign against it. Congress has fielded three-time MP from Hisar, Jai Prakash (58).
He is pitted against Haryana Janhit Congress’ Kuldeep Bishnoi (42) and main opposition INLD's Ajay Singh Chautala (50). In all, there are 40 candidates, mostly independents, in the fray for the October 13 bypolls in the parliamentary constituency which has approximately 13.32 lakh voters including 7.29 lakh males.
HJC founder and former Chief Minister Bhajan Lal, a veteran non-Jat politician whose death in June necessitated the by-election, had got 2.48 lakh votes in 2009 Lok Sabha polls, with Sampat Singh (now a Congress leader) coming in the number two spot with 2.41 lakh votes and Congress’ Jai Prakash finishing third with 2.04 lakh votes. Ajay, at present MLA from Dabwali in Sirsa district, is son of INLD President and former Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala while Bishnoi is hoping to cash on the good image his father late Bhajan Lal has left among the voters here. HJC President Bishnoi recently weaved an alliance with the BJP and the saffron party leaders have been campaigning for him.
Even though bypolls normally are not much of a bother for the ruling party, this time the dynamics are different and Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda knows it all too well and has been camping here for the past fortnight canvassing for his party candidate. With opposition launching scathing attacks on Congress on the corruption front and numerous scams that have rocked the UPA, it is the Anna factor that has added to the party’s woes. Team Anna members have been criss-crossing the constituency distributing Hazare’s CDs and holding public meetings urging voters not to vote for the Congress as it has failed to bring Jan Lokpal Bill in Parliament.