The Ambala Lok Sabha seat, reserved for Scheduled Castes (SC), is set to witness a fierce contest between four major political parties – the Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).
With two-time Congress MP and union minister Kumari Selja elected to the Rajya Sabha, BJP candidate Rattan Lal Kataria, who lost to her by just 14,000 votes in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, is eyeing an opportunity to wrest the seat, besides counting on the ‘Modi wave’. The BJP had an alliance with the INLD in 2009. This time, Kataria does not have the support of the INLD’s vote bank. He had earlier been elected as a BJP-INLD candidate from the Ambala Lok Sabha seat in 1999.
While Kataria is a Chamar, the Congress has fielded Raj Kumar Valmiki, belonging to the Balmiki community. Candidates of the INLD (Kusum Sherwal) and the BSP (Kapur Singh) are also Chamars.
While Kataria is banking on his experience and anti-incumbency, the INLD hopes to make a mark as it has MLAs in three of the nine assembly segments of the LS seat. It is also keen to woo 1.2 lakh Jats and more than 1 lakh Sikhs in the constituency. The INLD is also hoping that the Chamar votes would get divided.
The Cong ress candidate hopes to muster all traditional party votes, besides Chamar votes, since newly-appointed Haryana Congress president Ashok Tanwar is also from this community. The ruling party has its MLAs in three assembly segments of the LS seat.
Issues pertaining to development, unemployment and the pathetic condition of civic amenities figure on the agenda of all four candidates. While they have already launched their door-todoor campaign, the roadmap for rallies to be addressed by senior leaders is also being chalked out.