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Haryana Congress campaign set to enter Oppn strongholds

As the Congress campaign enters the second phase,it is faced with the challenge of making a dent into the Opposition’s strongholds of Sirsa and Hisar.

Written by MUKESH BHARDWAJ | Chandigarh |
March 4, 2009 5:02:29 am

As the Congress campaign enters the second phase,it is faced with the challenge of making a dent into the Opposition’s strongholds of Sirsa and Hisar.

Though the ruling party kicked off its campaign much before the Opposition parties — the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD),BJP and Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC) — the real battle begins only when it enters Sirsa,considered the Chautalas’ bastion,and Hisar,a stronghold of former chief minister Bhajan Lal. While,the INLD has conducted a Jan Aakrosh Padyatra recently to start its campaign,the HJC and,to an extent,the BJP are yet to begin active large-scale campaigning.

Venod Sharma,chairman of the state Congress campaign committee,who is on a whirlwind tour of 68 Assembly constituencies in the first leg of campaigning,said,“All areas are equally important and as the campaign enters subsequent phases,more leaders will join in.”

Sources say not many bigwigs were expected to be apart of the first phase,therefore the relatively important areas were kept in the second phase.

Chautala,who had to be content with only one seat in the last LS polls,would be looking to provide much-needed direction to his party. And so would be Bhajan Lal,whose son,former Bhiwani MP Kuldeep Bishnoi,formed the Haryana Janhit Congress Party after Bhajan was denied the post of chief minister. Chautala is back with his old ally,the BJP,and would be hoping to gain votes through the alliance.

Sharma,however,dismisses the chances of a possible comeback by the INLD,“Their alliance with the BJP hardly makes any difference. We expect the results to be no different from the previous Lok Sabha polls.”

In the same breath,he talks of showing the HJC “its place” in the polls. “They could win only one seat in the Assembly,that too when their stalwart (Bhajan Lal) entered the fray in a bypoll,” he added.

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