Switchover MP faces a tough fight on home turf | punjab | Hindustan Times
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Switchover MP faces a tough fight on home turf

Call it a massive electoral gamble or political “opportunism”, as some of his rivals termed it. When Gurgaon MP Rao Inderjit Singh switched loyalties from the Congress to the gung-ho Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) six weeks ago after serving the former for 36 years, he would not have anticipated a tough fight on his home turf here.

punjab Updated: Apr 04, 2014 08:42 IST
Navneet Sharma

Call it a massive electoral gamble or political “opportunism”, as some of his rivals termed it. When Gurgaon MP Rao Inderjit Singh switched loyalties from the Congress to the gung-ho Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) six weeks ago after serving the former for 36 years, he would not have anticipated a tough fight on his home turf here.


But Rao Inderjit, a threetime MP, is locked in a gripping hand-to-hand combat with Zakir Hussain of the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) in the parliamentary constituency having the largest number of voters in the state. The two leaders are counting on their own sway over their respective Ahir and Meo Muslim communities, political standing of their famous clans and support base of their newlyembraced parties in the area.

Academician-turned-politician Yo gendra Yadav, the Aam Aadmi Party candidate, a new entrant, and Congress veteran Rao Dharampal are also showing tremendous appetite for the race, slowly inching their way to make it a quadrangular contest. The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has fielded Dharampal Rathi.

Rao Inderjit and Zakir were pitted against each other in the 2009 parliamentary elections as well, when the former, more experienced of the two, won by 85,000 votes. A lot appears to have altered since then, though.

ELECTION MATH
Poll arithmetic is being jumbled up by caste complexities, community constancy, coalition calculations, turbulence triggered by turncoats and a newbie party — not necessarily in this order. Besides Ahir leader Rao Inderjit’s gambit of joining the saffron party just days before the elections, Zakir, the BSP nominee in 2009, has been fielded by the INLD, which he joined in November last year.

A third-generation politician, Zakir has considerable support in his Meo Muslim community in Mewat, bagging 57% of the total votes polled in the area in the 2009 parliamentary polls.

Rao Inderjit is hoping to ride the “popular support” for the BJP and its prime ministerial pick Narendra Modi, in addition to his own influence in Ahirwal.

Son of former chief minister Rao Birender Singh, he comes from martyr Rao Tula Ram’s famed Rampura house, a symbol of royalty and dynasty in southern Haryana.

But he isn’t the only one. Yadav and Rao Dharampal are also eyeing the 3.25 lakhodd Yadav votes. Bolstered by positive feedback he is getting from middle-class electors in the Millennium City of Gurgaon, the AAP nominee is crisscrossing the Mewat belt, hoping to make a dent there. However, the one-time number-crunching psephologist’s campaign is being somewhat hamstrung by the absence of a cadre.

The Congress candidate, who had remained confined to his assembly constituency in the past, is relying on his party’s traditional support base and development initiatives of the state government.