Crorepati vs Crorepati

Updated on May 07, 2004 03:40 PM IST

It could be the "Kurukshetra" of 2004: The battle of two "crorepatis" Navin Jindal of Congress and Indian National Lok Dal's Abhay Chautala, another rising son of Haryana CM.

HT Image
HT Image
PTI | ByPress Trust of India, Kurukshetra

It could be the "Kurukshetra" of 2004 Lok Sabha elections: The battle of two "crorepatis" young industrialist Navin Jindal of Congress and Indian National Lok Dal's Abhay Chautala, another rising son of Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala.

The presence of BJP's Gurdial Singh Saini has helped to make the contest interesting this time because of prevailing caste equations in this constituency of 11,61,679 voters in nine assembly segments sprawling three districts of Kurukshetra, Kaithal and Yamunanagar.

While Abhay is the third generation member of Haryana's most distinguished political family led by the patriarch of state politics and redoubtable Jat leader "Tau" (Uncle) Devi Lal, Jindal carries with him the halo a crusader who fought a legal battle to enable every Indian to fly the tricolour atop his house at any time.

Both are among the richest candidates in the elections. Taken together, Kurukshetra's three 'crorepati' candidates have assets worth 17.24 crore: Navin Jindal's Rs 9.10 crores of wealth disclosed while filing nominations followed by Abhay Chautala with Rs 5.14 crore and Jatinder Singh Khurdban of Haryana Vikas Party having assets worth Rs three crore.

While there are four major parties in fray, BSP and SP candidates are also seeking elections. One new regional party known as Ekta Party, mostly consisting of Ror and some other minority caste members of this region, have also made their presence felt with a bang.

There are commonalities between Navin and Abhay: both are youngest sons of their fathers, dynamic, plush with money and above all both regard politics as the most suitable platform to do social service.

Both the candidates have studded their campaigns with Bollywood stars who jazzed up the electorate. While Feroz Khan pitched for Jindal, Sanjay Dutt, Aditya Pancholi and Sunil Shetty canvassed for Abhay.

Chautala is carrying with him the long legacy of a family of politicians. He was groomed in politics first by Devi Lal and later by his father Om Prakash Chautala.

Jindal is the "GenNext" politician who is making his maiden venture in politics.

Abhay Chautala has contested and won elections right from village panchayat to zila parishad, in Rajasthan and Haryana assemblies and now he is in parliamentary election.

Jindal has no such career except during his student leadership at Dallas university in the USA. It was here that he developed his love for the Indian tricolour for which he fought a legal battle in India and won it to enable every citizen to unfurl the national flag atop their houses anytime.

The main issues in the election raised by INLD are the developmental work undertaken by Chautala government for over four years while Congress is raising subjects like law and order situation, burden of taxes and alleged erosion of democratic institutions.

But Navin is facing great difficulty to the poser by the INLD for lack of development of the constituency during the tenure of his father-industrialist O P Jindal as the MP of Kurukshetra. Jindal could not set up any industry, big or small, after his thumping victory in 1996 Lok Sabha polls and was defeated in 1999.

Navin was the election incharge of his father who had promised to remove unemployment of the youth of this region by setting up big industrial units here.

No Congress leader worth the name has so far visited Kurukshetra constituency to campaign for Jindal. On the other hand, the Haryana Chief Minister has toured the whole constituency twice, once accompanied by his another son Ajay Chautala. Besides, former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah visited the constituency to woo Muslim and Sikh voters for Abhay.

The caste factor is playing its role. Among the 11.61 lakh voters, abot 5.6 lakh are of general category, 3.7 are of backward classes and rest of 2.5 are from scheduled castes.

The dominant communities are the Jats who number 1.5 lakh, followed by "Khatri Aroras" being about one lakh, the Brahmins with a bit smaller numbers. The Saini and Lubana-Kamb of Sikhs are dominant castes among the backward castes while Ramdasias and Balmikis are formidable among the SC electorate.

Going by the past, the INLD derives support from the Jats, Aroras and Brahmins. Abhay is a Jat and has been backed by Ashok Arora, Haryana Transport Minister on the Khatri-Punjabi front and also the Brahmin leaders who are toeing the line of INLD for the first time, though not fully.

Gujjars, Lubana-Kamboj Sikhs have no option but to go for INLD but the Sainis are rallying behind BJP's Gurdial Saini.

BSP is pinning hopes on the SC and the Jhinwars, the stronghold of Congress so far, besides the Rors.

The recent controversy of Jindal's being a voter from both Kurukshetra in Haryana and Raigarh in Chhatisgarh may act as a dampener in the Congress' blitzerkeig.

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