In Jat heartland, it is a clash of titan | india | Hindustan Times
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In Jat heartland, it is a clash of titan

Haryana’s Finance Minister Birender Singh (63) and five-time chief minister and Indian National Lok Dal president Om Prakash Chautala (74) are locked in a whatever-it-takes fight here. Navneet Sharma reports. Special

india Updated: Oct 06, 2009 02:01 IST
Navneet Sharma

It is a fierce battle that is being waged in the Jat heartland of the Uchana Kalan assembly segment.

Haryana’s Finance Minister Birender Singh (63) and five-time chief minister and Indian National Lok Dal president Om Prakash Chautala (74) are locked in a whatever-it-takes fight here.

The outcome will not only determine their political fortunes, but also the standing of the two families in the state politics.

While Singh, grandson of Jat leader Sir Chhotu Ram who united his community in pre-Independence days, makes no secret of his ambition to be the CM, Chautala, son of deputy prime minister late Devi Lal, wants another shot at the top job.

If Singh, who is the Congress candidate, wins — it’ll be the sixth time — he’ll be a strong contender for the CM’s post.

Chautala, also in the fray from Ellenabad in Sirsa, needs a win desperately.

Chautala lost the last election, in 2005, from adjoining Narwana. He moved to Uchana Kalan after Narwana was declared a reserved constituency.

Singh has been quick to make poll capital of it — his rival is an outsider, contesting from two seats.

The thrust of his campaign is “Bangar ka chhora (Bangar’s lad)” versus an “outsider” trying to deprive locals a shot at power. Bangar is central Haryana that comprises Jind, Kaithal and parts of Hisar district.

Chautala is promising jobs and development, which the constituency desperately needs. He accuses the Congress of neglect and plays up its failures.

Both have pulled out all stops — money and muscle power — to emerge on top. No surprise then that the contest has families split and bets hedged.