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Poll results to decide future of four dynasties

No matter who wins or loses, the poll outcome in Maharashtra and Haryana on Thursday will decide the future of four regional political dynasties — those of former Congressman Bhajan Lal, Indian National Lok Dal chief Om Prakash Chautala, Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar and Shiv Sena’s Bal Thackeray. Vinod Sharma examines...

india Updated: Oct 22, 2009 08:41 IST
Vinod Sharma

No matter who wins or loses, the poll outcome in Maharashtra and Haryana on Thursday will decide the future of four regional political dynasties — those of former Congressman Bhajan Lal, Indian National Lok Dal chief Om Prakash Chautala, Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar and Shiv Sena’s Bal Thackeray.

Thackeray outranks everyone at 83. Lal is 79, Chautala 73 and at 69, Pawar is relatively younger, but nearly there.

Logically, Pawar should now promote his daughter and heir Supriya Sule’s leadership rather than securing his own. He may, however, like to wait to see how the NCP performs.

The outlook isn’t that clear in the extended Sena family where Thackeray is virtually immobilized and his son and nephew — Uddhav and Raj — are slugging it out in the streets.

Raj would have a stronger claim to his uncle’s political silver if his Maharashtra Navnirman Sena garners enough votes in Mumbai and Thane to foist another defeat on the mother party after its Lok Sabha debacle.

In Haryana, Chautala was always an uncertain keeper of his father Devi Lal’s legacy. His sons Ajay and Abhay seem doubly vulnerable in the face of Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda’s clout among Jat voters whose support is crucial for the INLD’s survival.

The elbow room available to Bhajan Lal and his younger son Kuldeep Bishnoi is even less. They lost the initiative the day they failed to team-tag their Haryana Janhit Congress with the Bahujan Samaj Party.