“Kamal ke samane ka batan dabakar tak taka tak. Tak taka tak karne ka kam karen, aur apane bhai aur bete ko jitane ka kam karen (Press the EVM machine button in front of the lotus symbol to ensure your brother and son wins the election),” says Krishan Middha in his precise appeal to traders at Jind’s Palika Bazar.
A BAMS medical practitioner by profession, Middha, 48, chooses his words carefully. He concludes his speech in less than a minute and politely accepts the wishes from his supporters, including youngsters who touch his feet. Amid hectic electioneering for the January 28 bypoll, Middha starts his day at 6 am to go and meet voters personally. After visiting nearby areas, he returns to his home situated at Jind’s Dyal Bag Colony where performs puja before going to his clinic to meet patients. After 10 am, it is time for public meetings across the town.
The BJP leadership has careful in picking those who accompany Middha to particular areas keeping the caste calculations in mind. Like in Palika Bazar, Urban Local Bodies minister Kavita Jain and her husband Rajiv Jain, Media Adviser to the Chief Minister, addressed shopkeepers and traders at the venue.
At almost every public meeting, a senior minister and local leaders have been present in advance before Middha’s arrival. Haryana Cooperation Minister Manish Grover, who had reached to Ravidas Temple before Middha, told The Indian Express that he was camping in the town since January 10, the day when BJP candidate filed his nominations papers. Like Middha, Grover is also from Punjabi community. Here too, Midha speaks briefly. “This is time to fulfill dreams of my father for the development of Jind,” he says while addressing the residents mostly from the Dalit community.
At Sheetalpuri Colony, Middha points out development works like initiation of construction of a Medical College in Jind. Claiming transparency in recruitment, he says now there is no need of a ‘sifarish’ for a government job in BJP ruled Haryana. At Dalit dominated Indira Colony, Midha says, “Mere pitaji muje aapke bharose chhodkar gaye hai (I need your support after the demise of my father).”
Shamsher Kharkara, who is from Jat community, accompanies Middha as he moves from to one public meeting to another. Kharkara, who is leader of a social panchayat of Rohtak’s Meham Chaubisi, is known for taking on former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and the Chautala family. Pointing to a political opponent in a meeting, Kharkara says, “Rupey bahut kharchega, mal bahut de raha hai, le liyo. Daru-duru pine ki ek-aadh bhai ne aadat ho to angerji bante hai, koi burai nahi hai lene me (He has lot of money, take it. There is no problem in taking liquor from him if anybody has habit of drinking).” With audience in splits, he adds, “Hooda is unconscious after losing Rohtak’s mayoral poll.”
But Kavita Jain interrupts Kharkara stating that Middha has to address other public meetings too. Speaking to The Indian Express, Middha says that his meetings with public and supporter go on till late in the night but there is no exact time for him to go to the bed in the poll season.
Middha’s neighbour Ramniwas Garg says a low profile candidate for Jind bypoll Vinod Ashri may prove the biggest surprise in the bypoll. A former chairman of Jind Municipal Committee, Ashri is candidate of BJP rebel MP Raj Kumar Saini’s newly formed political outfit, the Loktantra Suraksha Party. “In caste centric politics, Ashri may cause dent in the votebank of Middha by wooing Saini and Brahmin community voters,” says Garg. But Garg has only good things to say about Middha’s father and a two-time INLD MLA Hari Chand Middha, whose death necessitated the bypoll. “Hari Chand never denied medicines to the poor. He even used to offer bus fare to such patients.”