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Shruti, the lone ranger

india Updated: May 06, 2009 00:39 IST
Navneet Sharma
Navneet Sharma
Hindustan Times
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It is arguably the most well known address in Bhiwani town. You only have to ask the way to late Bansi Lal’s kothi and anyone will point out the bungalow.

The big compound is milling with loyal workers of the late leader who have coalesced behind his granddaughter Shruti Choudhry, Congress candidate for the Bhiwani-Mahendragarh constituency. Huge cutouts of former CM Bansi Lal and his son Surender Singh, who died in a plane crash four years ago, adorn the entrance.

“Madam is getting ready. She will be with you shortly,” says an attendant.

And just after 8 am, Shruti Choudhry walks in.

Her mother and Minister of State for Tourism and Forest Kiran Choudhry had secured the Congress ticket for her in the face of dogged opposition from her detractors. And now, it appears, the two are fighting a lonely battle.

Neither Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, nor state party chief Phool Chand Mullana have found the time to join their campaign. Hooda’s vijay rath (victory chariot) has crisscrossed most other constituencies in the state, but it is yet to head towards Bhiwani.

“I will let you know whenever I make plans to visit the constituency,” Hooda told reporters when asked at a press conference in Chandigarh about his plans to visit the Bhiwani-Mahendragarh.

Shruti is locked in a gripping triangular contest along with Ajay Singh Chautala (Indian National Lok Dal) and Rao Narender Singh (Haryana Janhit Congress).

Kiran has reportedly complained to Prithviraj Chavan, the Congress general secretary in-charge of Haryana, about the lack of cooperation from two senior party MLAs whose assembly segments are part of this parliamentary seat.

“An AICC observer is expected to visit the area shortly to look into the complaint and make a firsthand assessment of the situation on the ground,” said sources.

Kiran said she had repeatedly requested many of the local MLAs for support. “If someone neglects the interests of the party, I will request the high command to look at their role. I will also see to it at the time of allocation of the tickets for the assembly elections that their loyalty towards the Congress is assessed first.”