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Lok Sabha Elections 2019: Vying for second term, road ahead is tough for Sirsa MP Charanjeet Singh Rori

Lok Sabha Elections 2019: Analysts say that the road to Parliament in 2019 is tough for Sirsa MP Charanjeet Singh Rori if he is fielded again.He faces a challenge from multiple quarters even as he has shown willingness to contest Lok Sabha polls again.

people Updated: Mar 07, 2019 14:21 IST
Bhaskar Mukherjee
Bhaskar Mukherjee
Hindustan Times, Sirsa
lok sabha elections 2019,Sirsa LS constituency,Sirsa MP
INLD leader and Member of Parliament from Sirsa Lok Sabha constituency says he is ready to contest LS polls again in the party wants to field him. (HT Photo )

Registering a comfortable victory in every maiden political bout has been the hallmark of Charanjeet Singh Rori, the debutant Sirsa MP of the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD). He is now anxiously vying for a second term in the Lok Sabha.

The 49-year-old Sikh leader was a reluctant politician when he entered the electoral arena in 2000 and became the sarpanch of his native Rori village. Described as self-effacing and grounded, Rori was elected as zila parishad member from Sirsa in 2005 in his first attempt. In 2009, destiny propelled him to the next orbit when the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) fielded him from the Kalanwali assembly segment. He hit bull’s eye in the first attempt. During the 2014 Lok Sabha election, fighting on an INLD ticket, he earned the sobriquet of a giant killer by defeating sitting Congress MP Ashok Tanwar by 1.15 lakh votes.

Will he be lucky again? That’s the big, and worrying, question for the INLD.

Having built a support base in the region, the MP keeps a low profile to stay in sync with his rural constituents. Rori is credited with starting youth clubs in villages to engage residents and keep them away from drugs.

Political analysts say voters’ sympathy for Chautalas after INLD supremo OP Chautala and his son Ajay were jailed for irregularities in the JBT teachers recruitment case worked in Rori’s favour last time. A Dalit Sikh, he was also backed by the Shiromani Akali Dal. But this time, it’s a steep climb.

Five years on, Rori’s performance has been unimpressive. Working under the shadow of the Chautalas, Rori has no major project in his report card to boast of. Sushil Indora, an old friend who contested against him from the Haryana Janhit Congress HJC-BJP alliance in 2014, says, “He is a true soldier of the INLD but can’t do anything without taking permission of the Chautalas.”

‘No change in five years’

The residents of his constituency say Rori is accessible but ineffective in dealing with people’s problems.

Traders in Sirsa are upset with him for not keeping his word on installing CCTV cameras. “Not one major project has come up after he became an MP five years ago. For the traders’ community, he is a big failure,” says Subhash Arora, a businessman in Sirsa’s Rori Bazaar.

Shagun Kumari, a student at the local Chaudhary Devi Lal University, says the MP has not done anything for women.

“He could have improved bus services so that we don’t face difficulty in coming to the university. I don’t see any change in five years,” she says.

Amit Kumar, a student of Fatehabad, says: “Fatehabad district is known to be backward for want of good educational and medical facilities. Students have to travel more than 40 km to reach Hisar or Sirsa for higher studies. What has our MP done for the area?”

Haryana Congress president Ashok Tanwar also says there hasn’t been any development in five years. “I haven’t seen any development in five years. During my term, the Congress decided to connect Sirsa to Fatehabad by rail and further reach out to Hisar. But Charanjeet Singh Rori failed to ensure even that project was completed,” Tanwar said.

Support from villages

While urban residents appeared upset, the MP found support in villages. Rori is banking on his rural connect and works carried out under the MP Local Area Development (MPLAD) fund. He has allocated funds generously for gaushalas and to connect villages and schools with roads.

He says he also raised the issue of pollution in the Ghaggar river, in Parliament. The river is a primary source of irrigation for farmers of Sirsa.

Analysts say that the road to Parliament in 2019 is tough for Rori if he is fielded again. The INLD is recuperating after a split and the formation of the Jannayak Janta Party by Hisar MP Dushyant Chautala. The party’s hold in the state has weakened as was seen in the recent Jind byelections where it suffered a crushing defeat. In such a scenario, Rori faces a challenge from multiple quarters.

But the MP dismisses the “noises of non-performance”, saying he remained connected with his constituents and used the funds for development.

“I am ready to contest if the party fields me and in case it selects any other person, I will work for him/her as a true INLD worker,” Rori says.

First Published: Mar 07, 2019 14:21 IST