Though the date of the by-election in the constituency of Adampur in Haryana has not been announced, political parties have swung into action for the battle that lies ahead.
While Kuldeep Bishnoi, whose resignation from the Assembly earlier this month necessitated the bypoll, is looking for a role on the national stage and is preparing for his son to take over from him in the constituency that has been in his family’s control for 55 years, the by-election will be a crucial test for former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda of the Congress.
Bishnoi, who switched over from the Congress to the BJP following differences with Hooda and the state Congress leadership, and his wife Renuka are set to hold separate public meetings in the constituency over three days starting Thursday. Their son Bhavya is likely to contest the bypoll as the BJP candidate. Sources close to the family said Bhavya was in the US at present for his studies and would return to India before the by-election. The sources said Bishnoi could be moved to Rajasthan to campaign for the party in seats dominated by the Bishnoi community. Rajasthan will go to the polls next year. The buzz in political circles is that he is eyeing a ticket for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls from Hisar.
Congress gears up
This will be the first Assembly electoral contest for Hooda since he assumed total control of the state Congress and sidelined most of his rivals, including Bishnoi. The Congress Legislature Party leader met his supporters in Hisar district, of which Adampur is a part, at various events on August 14 and his son and Rajya Sabha MP Deepender Singh Hooda toured three villages in Adampur on August 12 during a 12-km “paidal yatra” as part of the party’s Azadi Gaurav Yatra.
Former Union minister Jai Prakash, former minister and six-time MLA Sampat Singh, and former MLA Ram Niwas Ghorela accompanied Deepender in the yatra. All three are being viewed as the party’s possible candidates. Jai Prakash has been active in the constituency ever since Bishnoi turned against the Congress during the Rajya Sabha elections in June in which he voted for Independent candidate Kartikeya Sharma instead of the party candidate Ajay Maken.
If Ghorela, who won the Assembly election from the adjoining Barwala constituency in 2009, is chosen, he may bank on the Backward Caste votes to counter Bishnoi’s attempts to consolidate non-Jats. But Jats comprise the largest section of the electorate in Adampur.
The by-election contest will also provide an insight into how Bishnoi’s switch to the BJP will play out with the party’s ally Jannayak Janta Party (JJP) in Hisar. In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the BJP’s Brijendra Singh, the JJP’s Dushyant Chautala (currently the Deputy Chief Minister) and Bhavya Bishnoi, then in the Congress, contested against each other. Singh bested Chautala to win the election while Bhavya lost his security deposit. It remains to be seen if Chautala and Singh will throw their weight behind their former rival in the bypoll. Also interesting will be to observe the moves of Sonali Phogat of the BJP who lost to Bishnoi in the last Assembly polls.
Also in the fray in Adampur will be the Aam Aadmi Party. It will be the first Assembly election for the party in Haryana. The Indian National Lok Dal of Om Prakash Chautala is also likely to field a candidate.