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Thursday, Nov 21, 2019

HOT SEAT: MEHAM4-time MLA locked in a multi-cornered fight in Jat heartland

Meham earned infamy for the mayhem in 1989 when it was vacated by the then chief minster Devi Lal on his becoming the deputy prime minister for his son Om Prakash Chautala

assembly-elections Updated: Oct 18, 2019 06:36 IST
Rajesh Moudgil
Rajesh Moudgil
Hindustan Times, Meham (Rohtak)
BJP candidate Meham Shamsher Kharkara
BJP candidate Meham Shamsher Kharkara(HT PHOTO)

Congress’ four-time MLA Anand Singh Dangi is locked in a tough fight against BJP’s Shamsher Kharkara — whom he is contesting for the second time — and Balraj Kundu, a BJP rebel who is contesting as an independent in this chaste Jat segment.

To add spice in the poll battle, Indian National Lok Dal’s (INLD) splinter outfit — Jannayak Janta Party (JJP) — has fielded Hargian Mokhra and made it a multi-corner contest. It is for the first time that the INLD, for which Meham has been its citadel, has not fielded a candidate from the segment.

Meham is the same constituency which earned infamy for the mayhem in 1989 when it was vacated by the then chief minster Devi Lal on his becoming the deputy prime minister for his son Om Prakash Chautala. A confidant of Devi Lal till then, Dangi, opted to confront Om Prakash Chautala at the hustings.

Resultantly, widespread violence marred the polls which had to be deferred twice. However, when the election was held for the third time, Dangi emerged the winner in 1991 and has made a hat-trick since 2005. Meham, a Jat-dominated seat, is being seen as an uphill task for the BJP which has never won from here.

Though confident of his standing in the area, Dangi, 68, who had even filed his nomination before the Congress released its candidates’ list, is not leaving anything to chance and is greeted enthusiastically in the rural and urban areas across the assembly segment.

“Aap ne dekha hai, har gaon mein roads ban gayeen hain, hamare bachon ke liye college hain, polytechnic or ITI khule hai, jab ke BJP sarkar ne in paanch salon mein yahan koi bhi kaam nahi kiya,” Dangi brings these points at almost all the meetings he holds with his supporters in villages and towns.

Kundu, 48, who resigned as chairman of the Rohtak zila parishad in a hope to get the BJP ticket, has jumped in the fray as an independent.

“Hamara sabse zyada focus hamari behan, betiyon ki suraksha aur padhai hai aur rahega. Dusra, hamare bhaiyon ke liye naukari ka zariya bhi nahi hai, koi industry bhi nahi hai,” says Kundu adding that his focus would always be the safety of girl students and employment.

He has been running about 12 buses and eight e-rickshaws free for girl students for the past about six years in the area. His opponents, however, say that unlike others, Kundu hails from Rohtak city.

BJP has fielded party’s state executive member Kharkara, 62, who fought Dangi twice in 2009 and 2014, unsuccessfully. Top party leaders have campaigned for him and he highlights the achievements and fair governance of the BJP government.

Supporters of Mokhra, 62, including Rajesh Khatkar and Sanjay Rathi, on the other hand, say Meham used to be INLD’s citadel and most of the party workers today are with the JJP. “We all are devoted supporters of Devi Lal and Mokhra is our choice.” Khatkar says and alleges that while Dangi has failed to deliver, Kundu is from Rohtak city and Kharkhara does not have enough support.