The recent switchover of four- time Cong ress MLA Dharambir Singh to the Bharatiya Janata Party ( BJP) has given an added edge to the battle for BhiwaniMahendergarh Lok Sabha seat.
It’s mainly a triangular contest, with sitting member of Parliament Shruti Choudhry pitted against Dharambir and Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) candidate, MLA Rao Bahadur Singh. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) nominee has given the ticket to social activist Lalit Agarwal.
Shruti and Dharambir are Jats, while Rao is an Ahir. Caste will again play a decisive role, with Jats and Ahirs voters dominating the area. While Bhiwani is a strong base of Jats, Ahirs are in substantial numbers in Mahendragarh region. Congress votes are expected to split, with Dharambir contesting on the BJP ticket.
Former chief minister late Bansi Lal’s granddaughter Shruti is being assisted in campaigning by her mother, Haryana public health minister Kiran Choudhry, and is also getting support from housing and cooperation minister Satpal Sangwan.
Shruti’s poll plank is development done during her and Bansi Lal’s tenure. She claims to have brought Bhiwani and Mahendergarh closer to Delhi during the past five years.
She lists out works such as drinking water augmentation, improving sewerage, and bringing Central Sports University and a medical college to Bhiwani. Her opponents claim that all this is just on paper. They also say that the MP was unable to get any jobs for youngsters.
While addressing voters, she has been highlighting that no development was undertaken by the Congress government in the constituency in the past decade, hinting at her troubled ties with chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda.
With Shruti getting very little support from her own party, most of south Haryana, including her constituency, is in a state of neglect. Now, she faces another roadblock in the form of anti-incumbency.