Updated: October 12, 2014 9:46:06 am
With his chief ministerial ambitions shattered, thanks to a drubbing in the Hisar Lok Sabha seat and consequent break in ties with the BJP, the Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC) chief Kuldeep Bishnoi wants revenge for the ‘betrayal’ to start from his family pocket borough of Adampur.
As he sets off to campaign in the seat, it is clear that the BJP calling off the alliance still rankles. “I reached an alliance with them when they had a meagre presence in the assembly.
We both knew our political standing but they changed after their Lok Sabha victory, conveniently forgetting that issues are different in Parliamentary and state elections. They are in for a surprise,” he says.
Up on stage, it dominates his campaign narrative. “They (BJP) betrayed me. It is time that they are returned the favour. I have my hopes here and know that you will never betray me,” Bishnoi tells the Adampur crowd.
The HJC chief couldn’t have picked a better place to dish out his retribution. Adampur is a family bastion and Bishnoi’s father, former Haryana chief minister Bhajan Lal, never lost in this seat, winning it eight times. That tradition has been maintained by Bishnoi and his wife, Renuka Bishnoi.
In 2009, Bhajan was elected to the Lok Sabha paving the way for Bishnoi to elected to the Assembly from Adampur in 2009. Following Bhajan Lal’s death in 2011, Bishnoi vacated the seat for his wife Renuka. He was elected to the Lok Sabha in a by-election from Hisar replacing his father.
In these elections, Bishnoi has been pitted against childhood friend Kulveer Beniwal, who has been fielded here by the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD). The duo go a long way back. They were neighbours and it was Bhajan Lal who helped Beniwal win the 2005 election from Bhattu Kalan in Fatehabad, marking the latter’s entry into the state Assembly.
Those elections, however, changed the equations. When the Congress high command then picked up Bhupinder Singh Hooda as chief minister, an angry Bhajan Lal quit to form the HJC. Beniwal remained with the Congress before switching to the INLD.
It is not all smooth sailing, however, as Beniwal’s presence may queer the pitch for Bishnoi. Adampur constituency is small in size and has a total of 1.53 lakh votes.
Like other seats of Hisar district, Jats constitute a major chunk (over 45,000) but the Bishnois too have an equally sizeable presence (28,000).
Beniwal is a Jat and the INLD has made inroads in this region with Dushyant’s trouncing of Bishnoi in the recent Lok Sabha elections. The Congress, for its part, has fielded Satinder Singh, another one-time close confidante of Bishnoi.
The HJC chief is, however, confident of victory. He has only campaigned here once.
“He has no reason to waste time here. This constituency has never betrayed the Bhajan family and this time is will be no different,” says Ashok Bishnoi, a resident of Adampur.
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