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Friday, Dec 13, 2019

Lok Sabha elections 2019: Three political legacies at stake in Hisar poll battle

The three are: sitting MP Dushyant Chautala, the great grandson of Chaudhary Devi Lal, a former deputy PM; Brijendra Singh, the son of Union minister Birender Singh and great grandson of farmer leader Chhotu Ram; and Bhavya Bishnoi, the grandson of former CM Bhajan Lal.

lok-sabha-elections Updated: May 05, 2019 07:51 IST
Hitender Rao
Sitting MP Dushyant Chautala, the great grandson of Chaudhary Devi Lal, a former deputy prime minister.
Sitting MP Dushyant Chautala, the great grandson of Chaudhary Devi Lal, a former deputy prime minister.
         

The scions of three of Haryana’s political families, two of them debutants, are slugging it out in the Hisar Lok Sabha constituency in a triangular contest that promises to be one of the biggest dynastic clashes in the state in these elections.

The three are: sitting MP Dushyant Chautala, the great grandson of Chaudhary Devi Lal, a former deputy prime minister; Brijendra Singh, the son of Union minister Birender Singh; and Bhavya Bishnoi, the grandson of former chief minister Bhajan Lal.

Brijendra, 46, recently quit the Indian Administrative Service to jump into the poll fray on a Bharatiya Janata Party ticket and carry forward his family’s legacy.

Bhavya, 26, an Oxford graduate who until recently did not look like a serious contender for a Congress nomination, got his debut ticket in place of his father Kuldeep Bishnoi, who was the party’s original choice.

Dushyant, 31, the youngest MP in the 16th Lok Sabha, won the 2014 election on an Indian National Lok Dal ticket. He is now the face of the fledgling Jannayak Janta Party, an offshoot of INLD that came into being after a power struggle in the Chautala clan.

CASTE CALCULUS

The Jats are the dominant caste in Hisar, having one-third of the total votes. However, in the 2009 election and the 2011 bypoll, Hisar was won by non-Jat candidates Bhajan Lal and Kuldeep Bishnoi, respectively, indicating the consolidation of non-Jat voters and a divide among Jats.

However, the outcome may not be similar this time though three Jat candidates – Dushyant, Brijendra and INLD’s Suresh Koth, a farmer activist — are vying for the community’s votes.

Political pundits say BJP’s Brijendra could make inroads into urban and non-Jat votes because of the party’s presence in urban centres and penetration among the non-Jat electorate.

Dushyant does not believe in the caste division hypothesis. “I don’t see any caste polarisation. The bigger issue is how Congress and BJP fooled people,” he said.

Brijendra said though last few elections were fought by polarising voters on caste lines, BJP’s entry in Hisar would ensure allround support for him. “This is due to leadership of PM Modi and work of Manohar Lal Khattar-led BJP government...,” he said.

Bhavya said it was unfortunate that politicians were talking about caste. “The discourse should be about progress, education, employment... This election is about people’s issues and the failure of BJP government,” he said while campaigning.

KEY ISSUES

Talking about Modi’s achievements, diplomatic initiatives and decisiveness, Brijendra said, “This election is about national issues. I’m seeking a positive vote on development done by the BJP in the state and at the Centre.”

Dushyant said his rivals from the BJP and Congress were not ready to talk about local issues but his ability to bring up matters of state interest in Parliament was a winner. “If I’ve fought for your cause in the last five years, then vote for me,” Dushyant told the people in Rakhi Shahpur village.

Bhavya, who released the Congress manifesto for Hisar, said issues such as unemployment, farmer distress and women rights were the most pertinent.