Some say the October 21 assembly contest between the two Jat leaders --former deputy prime minister Devi Lal's great grandson and peasant leader Sir Chhotu Ram's granddaughter-in-law will -- go down to the wire, just like the other elections here in recent years.
The two main Haryana Assembly candidates in this constituency in Jind district do not represent just their parties, but their families as well. Current BJP MLA Prem Lala is the wife of former Union minister and Rajya Sabha MP Birender Singh. Dushyant Chautala of the Jannayak Janta Party is from the now-divided political clan that has produced the likes of Devi Lal and Om Prakash Chautala.
Some say the October 21 assembly contest between the two Jat leaders –former deputy prime minister Devi Lal’s great grandson and peasant leader Sir Chhotu Ram’s granddaughter-in-law will — go down to the wire, just like the other elections here in recent years.
Prem Lata had defeated Dushyant Chautala in the 2014 assembly polls in Uchana Kalan, when he entered the fray despite being a sitting MP of the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) – the party he broke away from only last year.
Her winning margin then was just 7,480 votes. But she had avenged husband Birender Singh’s defeat at the hands of Dushyant’s grandfather Om Prakash Chautala in 2009, the year the senior Chautala shifted to Uchana Kalan after his Narwana seat was turned into a scheduled caste constituency.
He had defeated Birender Singh in his own bastion by an even slimmer margin of 621 votes. “The outcome in this constituency is difficult to predict now,” says Narendra from Palwan village. “It will be a keenly watched contest.”
In the past, Dushyant Chautala has also tasted defeat at the hands of another member of the rival family.
Bureaucrat-turned-politician Brijendra Singh, the son of Birender Singh and Prem Lata, won from Hisar in the parliamentary elections earlier this year. The BJP remains on a high since its clean sweep in the state in last Lok Sabha polls. JJP leader Dushyant Chautala also faces the possibility of a split in votes between him and the candidate fielded by the parent INLD.
As Prem Lata and Dushyant Chautala trade charges, he says, “The BJP destroyed the social fabric of Haryana and the party should be taught a lesson.” “The BJP government is solely responsible for unemployment and the youth will teach it a lesson in the polls,” he says. While the income of the youth hasn’t increased, Prem Lata’s own earnings have “doubled” in the past five years, he charges. He alleges that the recruitment process in Haryana is a “farce”, countering the BJP’s claim of transparency in providing jobs.
He says the JJP will ensure 75 per cent jobs to youths of Haryana after it comes to power. Prem Lata trashes the JJP’s charges. “They speaks lies and will not be able to stand before the truth,” she says. The biggest truth, she claims, is the development that has taken place in Uchana Kalan and the rest of Haryana during the BJP’s term.
She says 16 villages in the constituency have got potable water from Bhakra canal, roads have been built and Uchana is now a sub division.
A new hospital, a government college, a grain market and a Kendriya Vidyalaya have also come up, she says, adding, “A lot more needs to be done.” Among the 15 candidates in the field are Bal Ram (Congress), Satpal (INLD), Samarjit (Bahujan Samaj Party), Rohtas (Aam Aadmi Party), and Krishan Kumar (Swaraj India). But between heavyweights Prem Lata and Dushyant Chautala, they hardly stand a chance.