Sons of Haryana's top leaders slug it out in Bhiwani
The contest for Bhiwani Lok Sabha seat in Haryana has not only become an acid test for three main candidates in the fray, but the reputations of their fathers have also been put to test.
Battling it out will be Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala's elder son Ajay Singh, who is seeking re-election on INLD ticket, Haryana Vikas Party president and former chief minister Bansi Lal's son Surinder Singh (HVP) and state Congress chief and former chief minister Bhajan Lal's younger son Kuldeep Singh Bishnoi (Cong).
In the 1999 Lok Sabha polls, Ajay Singh had defeated his nearest rival by a huge margin.
Though the BJP is yet to announce its nominee for the seat but the presence of three titans has ensured it will remain a triangular fight.
A Bansi Lal stronghold for long, Bhiwani also includes Bhajan Lal's Assembly segment Adampur. Last time, Ajay Singh may have garnered some support from Adampur, but this time with Bishnoi in the fray, he knows it would be difficult.
Bansi Lal's son who won comfortably in 1996 saw his margin being reduced considerably in 1998. As Ajay Singh closed in the gap, Surinder this time would be hoping to regain the lost ground.
Both the Jats would be eyeing the Jat vote who alone account for one-third of the voters. Ajay may also have to deal with anti-incumbency factor.
With INLD separating itself from the BJP-led NDA, Ajay can no longer cash in on his party's excellent relations with the Centre, but he would try to hardsell the developmental works carried out in the constituency during his tenure.
For Bishnoi, who looked an unlikely candidate from the constituency till his name was announced, will be looking to consolidate the non-Jat vote.
While one would have to wait for the outcome for over a month, this is one seat which all the three parties would like to win at all costs.
The stakes are high and after all, the Haryana politics has been revolving around these three families.