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In Haryana, parties turn into family fiefdoms

Leading the pack is the Congress, followed by the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) and its off-shoot, the newly floated Jannayak Janata Party (JJP).

india Updated: Apr 24, 2019 02:20 IST
Pawan Sharma
Pawan Sharma
Chandigarh
In the world’s largest democracy, dynastic politics is a dominant theme, and the Jatland is no exception. Political parties have once again lined up members of prominent political clans of Haryana for the May 12 Lok Sabha polls.(Raj K Raj/HT PHOTO)

In the world’s largest democracy, dynastic politics is a dominant theme, and the Jatland is no exception. Political parties have once again lined up members of prominent political clans of Haryana for the May 12 Lok Sabha polls.

Leading the pack is the Congress, followed by the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) and its off-shoot, the newly floated Jannayak Janata Party (JJP).

Haryana has 10 Lok Sabha seats and six Congress candidates hail from different political clans.

Interestingly, the politics of patronage has not left untouched even the BJP — the party that used to hold ‘clout of clan’ responsible for the decay in the political culture of Haryana.

Poll observers say the BJP’s decision to field Union minister Birender Singh’s son Brijendra Singh, an IAS officer, from Hisar Lok Sabha seat, has come as a surprise.

The minister, whose wife Prem Lata is a BJP MLA, has offered to resign from the Union cabinet and the Rajya Sabha.

The family traces its lineage to social reformer Sir Chhotu Ram, who was the maternal grandfather of Birender.

Also testing their political muscle will be the third and fourth generations of Haryana’s three famous Lals--Bansi Lal, Devi Lal and Bhajan Lal.

In Congress, Rohtak strongman Bhupinder Singh Hooda’s family is also a dominant player in the state polity.

While the former chief minister has been fielded from Sonepat, the party, this time too, is banking on son and three-time MP Deepender Singh Hooda to retain Rohtak. Hooda’s father, Ranbir Singh, was a well-known freedom fighter.

‘Not a new phenomenon’

“The dynastic politics is not a new phenomenon in Haryana. No party is untouched from it…of late, the BJP has also fallen for it. Across all regions of Haryana, a handful of families are controlling politics,” says Professor Rajendra Sharma of political science department of Maharishi Dayanand University (MDU), Rohtak.

“In Haryana, family and feudal loyalties are intrinsic to its culture. This promotes patronage which, in turn, is a booster for dynastic politics,” he adds.

“Regional parties not having sound ideology are family driven. The weaker the ideological base, the bigger the dependence on dynastic politics. This is why we see more reliance on dynastic politics among regional parties,” a political analyst, pleading anonymity, said.

The entry of Bhavya Bishnoi, son of MLA couple, Kuldeep Bishnoi and Renuka Bishnoi and grandson of former chief minister Bhajan Lal, as Congress candidate from Hisar again point towards dominance of dynastic politics in the state.

While INLD leader Abhay Chautala has fielded his younger son Arjun Chautala from Kurukshetra, Dushyant Chautala, son of Ajay Chautala is seeking re-election from Hisar, though on JJP, the breakaway faction, this time. His younger brother Digvijay Chautala will take on Hooda in Sonepat.

Interestingly, it’s not just about ‘son-rise’ in Haryana, the women have also benefitted when it comes to dynastic politics. Kumari Selja, a four-time MP and a former Union minister, is contesting from Ambala reserved seat.

First Published: Apr 24, 2019 02:20 IST