Debate before the big decision: Will we ever get respite from water shortage, farming woes?https://indianexpress.com/elections/debate-before-the-big-decision-will-we-ever-get-respite-from-water-shortage-farming-woes-6079551/

Debate before the big decision: Will we ever get respite from water shortage, farming woes?

With just hours to go for Haryana Assembly polls, voters in this part of Haryana are not discussing national issues, but their local problems.

Debate before the big decision: Will we ever get respite from water shortage, farming woes?
Villagers at Gorcchi village. (Express Photo by Sukhbir Siwach)

BIJENDER SINGH says the garbage dumping ground near the village is the biggest issue for residents of Dandur, which falls in Adampur constituency. Here, TV actress and TikTok star Sonali Phogat of BJP is taking on former chief minister Bhajan Lal’s son Kuldeep Bishnoi of Congress.

With just hours to go for Haryana Assembly polls, voters in this part of Haryana are not discussing national issues, but their local problems.

“For years we kept raising this issue but nobody cared about our demand. The garage dumped here is causing the spread of serious diseases,” says Bijender, a Dalit. Dandur is situated on the outskirts of Hisar town but falls in Adampur constituency, known as a stronghold of the Bhajan Lal family for the past five decades.

A group of residents here was spotted playing cards. “On one hand the government is making efforts to rehabilitate 258 Dalit families who were hit by caste violence in Mirchapur village, but here it appears adamant to throw us out of our own village,” says 73-year-old Rattan Singh, a Kumar community member. Residents of five villages including Dandur had staged protests to get their constructions here regularised after the government had issued notices stating that their constructions had been done on land of Government Livestock Farm.

Advertising

Kuldeep Bishnoi’s supporters say they are impressed with him because he had promised to get their constructions regularised — which had come into existence decades ago — regularised. However, BJP supporter Sunil Kumar, who is from the Gujjar community, says, “As a legislator, Kuldeep Bishnoi was allotted a budget of crores to carry out development works here but he failed to do any work here. We would like to test a new candidate (Phogat) this time.”

At this, Bijender, who is a volunteer of the Jannayak Janata Party of former Hisar MP Dushyant Chautala, intervenes. “This was Dushyant Chautala who had arranged water tanks to supply drinking water to our homes,” he says, adding that he would vote for JJP’s Ramesh Godara. He also points to a JJP’s flag fluttering from the roof of his house.

Meanwhile, a small group of volunteers appear in the village to seek votes for CPI(M) candidate Suresh Kumar, a former Zila Parishad member.

“Suresh will get votes of workers here because as a trade union leader he has fought for their rights,” says Shakuntala Jakhar, CPI(M) district secretary.

At Gorki village in neighbouring Nalwa constituency, the villagers have almost unanimously declared a tough contest between BJP’s Ranbir Gangwa and Randhir Panihar of Congress. Nalwa has a significance presence of Jats and Bishnoi community members. Randhir, a Jat community member, got a Congress ticket. It had angered former Nalwa MLA Sampat Singh, who eventually left Congress to join BJP. “We not only face a scarcity of irrigation for our fields, but even drinking water. Many times we arrange a water tanker for Rs 500,” says Sajjan Kumar, a farmer.

At Gandawas village, which falls in Loharu constituency, a farmer and JJP supporter Kanwar Bhan lists the problems being faced by farmers. “The BJP government has made agriculture-related activities very technical. How can farmers complete all these formalities? We have kept our moong crop at our homes. We don’t know when we will be able to sell it at the mandi. Earlier it was very simple. We just used to load our tractor-trolley and sell the same at mandis,” he says.

Local political analyst Abhe Singh says that repeated references to Article 370 by the prime minister in his speeches will certainly make an impact on a section of voters.

In Loharu constituency, former chief minister Bansi Lal’s son-in-law Sombir Singh is Congress candidate while JP Dalal is BJP’s choice for the seat. For the past many years, it was INLD’s stronghold but this time JJP’s Alka Arya is in the contest here.

At neighbouring Siwani, which is the hometown of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, the people say there is direct contest between Sombir and Dalal. “There is no wave of any party here so the margin of votes may not be big this time,” says Hansraj Bishnoi, a local resident.