The Jannayak Janta Party (JJP) named party leader Dushyant Chautala as its candidate from Uchana Kalan and his mother and sitting Dabwali MLA Naina Chautala from Jat-dominated Badhra, setting the stage for high profile fights in the two Assembly constituencies in poll bound Haryana.
The two leaders figure in the list of 43 candidates, released in three tranches, by the JJP Thursday. With this the party has named 85 candidates for the polls on October 21.
Dushyant, a former MP from Hisar will once again take on BJP’s sitting MLA Prem Lata, who had defeated him from the Jat-dominated Uchana Kalan constituency by a margin of over 7,000 votes in the 2014 Assembly polls. Prem Lata is wife of Rajya Sabha MP and former Union minister Birender Singh.
The constituency in Jind district is considered a bastion of Birender Singh, who won the Assembly elections from here five times.
This is not first time when the two families will be taking on each-other in the poll battle from here Prem Lata had defeated Dushyant in the 2014 polls when he had entered into the fray despite being a sitting MP of the Indian National Lok Dal from Hisar.
Dushyant also tasted defeat at the hands of Birendra Singh’s bureaucrat-turned-politician son Brijendra Singh, fielded by the BJP, in the Lok Sabha polls from Hisar this year.
The political rivalry between the two families goes back to 1984when Birender Singh as Congress candidate had defeated Dushyant’s grandfather Om Prakash Chautala from Hisar Lok Sabha seat. However, political observes recall that Chautala had succeeded in maintaining lead from Uchana Vidhan Sabha segment, part of Hisar parliamentary seat.
So fierce has been the rivalry that OP Chautala had shifted to Uchana Kalan in 2009 when the Narwana seat in Jind was declared reserved after a delimitation exercise. OP Chautala, who is also the INLD president, had defeated Birender Singh from Uchana Kalan by a narrow margin of 621 votes. At that time, Birender Singh was being seen as a strong claimant for the CM’s post in the Congress circles.
Ahead of the 2014 Assembly polls, Birender Singh joined BJP, following which the saffron party fielded his wife Prem Lata from Uchana Kalan.
Both Dushyant and Birender Singh come from prominent Jat families of the state and Jind district is considered the political heartland of Haryana.
Secretary General of JJP and former Vice-Chancellor of Guru Jambheshwar University of Science and Technology (Hisar), Dr KC Bangar said, “All eyes will be on Uchana Kalan during this poll battle. The result of this seat will change politics of the state”.
A well known political commentator from Hisar, Rishi Saini said, “It’s not just political fight of two families but struggle of supremacy in the politics of farmers and Jats in the state. By entering the poll battle from Uchana Kalan, which is far away from their home district Sirsa, Chautalas want to send out a message that they can take on Birender Singh in his home constituency as they have support of farmers”.
Birender Singh is grandson of Sir Chhotu Ram, who enjoys respect among farmers.
A close associate of Birender Singh, Udayvir Punia, however, claimed that “Dushyant’s competition in the politics is just with his uncle” Abhay Chautala. “Dushyant has not entered in the poll fray from Uchana Kalan to win the election but just to charge his workers. In this election, there is a competition between JJP and INLD to emerge superior,” he said.
“There is change in the politics of state. Now, the farmers can’t be misguided with fake slogans. They have keenly observed how the Khattar government has ensured transparency in the government jobs,” he added.
The JJP has shifted Dushyant’s mother Naina Chautala from Dabwali to the Badhra constituency in Charkhi Dadri district, where she will take on former Chief Minister Bansi Lal’s son and former Board of Control for Cricket in India president Ranbir Singh Mahindra of Congress. BJP has retained its sitting MLA, Sukhwinder Sheoran, from the seat.
Naina’s name was announced by the JJP in the fifth list of candidates released Thursday evening. By late evening, the party announced names of eight more candidates.
“Chautalas believe that they already have solid base in Sirsa and Fatehabad districts and want to further expand the same to Jind, Bhiwani and adjoining Dadri district. That’s why Dushyant has fielded his mother Naina from Badhra constituency of Dadri. Moreover, Jind and Badhra have been epicenter of farmers’ agitations in past,” said Saini.
In the fourth list of the 30 candidates released earlier in the day, the JJP also named former BSF jawan Tej Bahadur Yadav, who was dismissed in 2017 after he posted a video complaining about the quality of food being served to soldiers.
Yadav will contest against Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar from Karnal constituency. He had earlier filed nomination from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s parliamentary constituency Varanasi as Samajwadi Party candidate but the Election Commission had rejected his nomination.
Among other candidates whose names were announced by the JJP is former MLA Arjun Singh, who has been fielded from Jagadhri. A woman activist and professor of Kurukshetra University, Santosh Dahiya, has been fielded form Ladwa. A long time associate of Dushyant’s father Ajay Chautala, OP Sihag, will take on INLD’s Abhay Chautala from Ellenabad constituency.
On Tuesday, the party had released its third list naming 20 candidates. On September 29, the JJP had announced 15 candidates and in its first list on September 13, names of seven candidates were announced.
JJP, which came into existence after a a split in the INLD following a feud within the Chautala clan, is contesting the polls independently.