Battleground Gurgaon

  • Abhishek Behl / FG
  • India
  • Feb 28, 2014




With Lok Sabha elections nearing, the swords are being drawn in the run up to the polls in the prestigious Gurgaon Parliamentary elections, with BJP and AAP trading charges – and Congress yet to make up its mind. While AAP's Yogender Yadav is a ‘son of the soil’ and claims support from the disgruntled populace, Congress rebel Rao Inderjit, the incumbent, is a royal scion, who is all set to be the BJP candidate. Rao Inderjit's candidature is likely to made official in a few days, which will also end all speculation. Accusing Aam Aadmi Party of misleading the people, GL Sharma, a close confidante of Rao Inderjit, alleges that Kejriwal's party has not graduated from being protesters to a responsible political outfit. “They are trying to create a movement based on deception. Kejriwal used Anna Hazare, Swami Ramdev and many more, who were then dumped by AAP later on”, alleges Sharma. When not even a single promise has been fulfilled by AAP, how is the Party now claiming that it will change the face of politics, he queries. In his opinion, AAP is the B-team of the Congress Party, and has been set up and supported to thwart the march of Modi. “The recent distribution of tickets by AAP clearly shows that ‘big’ names have been given tickets against BJP candidates, and this is part of a Congress plan to undercut the BJP - by ‘ensuring’ that anti-Congress votes are split”, asserts the veteran politician, who has fought many a poll battle for his erstwhile (Congress) Party. It was his acumen that ensured that the Congress won the MCG polls in Gurgaon, and a Mayor from Rao Inderjit’s ‘camp’ was installed. It is a different matter that the infighting within the Congress (CM versus Rao) has ensured that the MCG Mayor (and even the Councillors) has remained a defunct authority - with no support coming from the government and the bureaucracy.

Accusing AAP of practising double standards, Sharma alleges that while Kejriwal accused Delhi Police of being corrupt, they have allowed entry to a former Haryana DGP and several other bureaucrats into their Party. “Does wearing the AAP cap turn a corrupt bureaucrat into an honest man?” he asks. Referring to the claims being made by Yogender Yadav, that he was the son of the soil, Sharma alleges that where were Kejriwal and his coterie when farmers and industrial workers were being given short-shrift by the Haryana government. “Why has he woken up now from his sleep? Is it not just for the poll? Yogender Yadav, and earlier his father, has been promoting a particular thought through an NGO, which has been rejected in Rewari, and even across Haryana”, he claims. Rao Inderjit fought along with the farmers in Gurgaon, Rewari, Bawal and other parts of the State, and even spoke against his own government, for their failure to bring about equitable development and employment in South Haryana. “How can an outsider come now and claim ‘leadership’, that too with ‘glossy slogans’ - which surely will attract only certain sections of society, and will not even be heard by the rural populace”, quips Sharma. He also wants to know why, despite India being a Federal State, Kejriwal insisted on having a separate Janlokpal for Delhi, which he knew was not going to be allowed by the Central government. The resignation drama in Delhi was just another ploy to capture the imagination of gullible voters and ensure that BJP's urban vote is not consolidated - which is a part of the Congress strategy, alleges Sharma. “Why has AAP forgotten the list of corrupt leaders it had earlier released? Not even a single candidate has been announced against those listed,” he says. He pointedly remarks that both Arvind Kejriwal and Yogender Yadav were part of UPA's National Advisory Committee, and have been closely working with the Congress leadership. “Why is there no referendum on the distribution of tickets, why ‘big aadmis’ are being given tickets -  Kejriwal needs to explain,” he says. While Sharma discounts AAP in Haryana as a political force, he agrees that it would hit the BJP more in close contests, as the Congress is already a spent force in the State. 

When asked about what Rao Inderjit had done for Gurgaon in particular, and South Haryana in general, for which people should vote for him, Sharma dishes out a list of major works that have been carried out by their leader. “More that the work, people will vote for him because he has fought their battle with the Congress State leadership, and even the High Command. It was because Rao Inderjit Singh became a representative of the peoples' anger that Congress sidelined him”, he asserts. He says that they will act fast after coming to power. The idea of a Gurgaon Development Authority will be taken to its conclusion, the Metro Rail will also be brought to ‘old’ Gurgaon, and relief will be given to the lakhs of residents living in the disputed 900 meter area around the Ammunition Depot. The land deals and CLU scam will also be probed. Rao’s decision to join the BJP also came about after numerous Rao supporters, many of whom are ex-servicemen, exhorted him to help Narendra Modi become the Prime Minister. With Rao Inderjit now in the BJP, Sharma says that the Party has got a major fillip in South Haryana; and after the Parliamentary polls, the next goal would be to ensure that the next Chief Minister would be from South Haryana – and no prizes for guessing who that would be..


The Haryana Janhit Congress (BL), which was formed by late Haryana Chief Minister Bhajan Lal's son Kuldip Bishnoi in 2007, is likely to emerge as an important player in the post election scenario in the State. With a 9.5 per cent vote share in the last Assembly polls, the Party is expecting to capitalise on peoples' anger against the Hooda government. The alliance with the BJP is also likely to benefit the Party and its young supremo, Bishnoi, who has a clean image, believes Gurgaon-based HAJKA leader Mahesh Dayma. He is also an MCG Councillor from Ward No 32. Dayma asserts that their alliance with the BJP, which is based on equal seat sharing, will withstand the choppy political waters and ensure that both the parties will form the next government in the State. HAJKA has a strong base in and around Hisar, from where he is also the MP. In fact Bishnoi's victory against Ajay Chautala of INLD and senior Congress leader Jai Prakash, also helped in establishing him as one of the top non-Jat leaders in the State. This was further cemented by his wife's victory from Adampur Assembly constituency. Dayma asserts that HAJKA under the leadership of young Bishnoi is going to bring about equitable development across the State. “Builders rule the roost in the State, and there is nothing that the government has done to end inflation, corruption and the forcible acquisition of land from farmers”, he says. “If our alliance comes to power, the land acquired from farmers for the scrapped Reliance SEZ would be returned”, he says. This issue was raised by their top leader even when he was in the Congress, but even at that time the Party had failed to listen to the grievances of the people. Dayma says that their Party has taken out Padyatras, sat on fasts and even got beaten up by the police for opposing land acquisitions, and for siding with the farmers. He says that in Haryana there has been a visible decline in the law and order, and the crimes against women and the weaker sections are rising. “The current government has failed on all fronts, and there is disillusionment among the masses, which will ensure that people vote out the Congress from power. Our vote share  in the election is going to increase greatly”, asserts Dayma. Pointing to the recent entry of Rao Inderjit Singh into the BJP, he says, “He has the stature and the followers, which will benefit the alliance”, claims Dayma. He adds that all past non-Congress governments in the State have had some sort of alliance with the BJP. “We are the only alternative for a clean and stable government, which will end corruption and nepotism in Haryana. There is also a need to ensure that the discrimination in development, which has been perpetuated by the Congress, is brought to an end”, he asserts.

For Gurgaon, Dayma says that urban local bodies like MCG will be empowered and the entire City - including HUDA and private areas - would be brought under the civic agency. Today even basic civic services are not available to most residents. Being a Councillor, he also understands the lack of power of the elected representatives, and says that their Party will ensure that this discrepancy also ends once they assume power. There has been little development in Gurgaon despite it producing massive revenue and paying large amounts as EDC to the State exchequer. “While flyovers are needed in Gurgaon, these are being built in Rohtak. The Waste Treatment Plant is in a shambles and the bureaucracy just does not listen”, asserts Dayma. He also promises that builders will be made accountable and action taken against those players who do not deliver what has been promised. About his own political prospects, Dayma says that he will prefer to fight the Assembly election from Sohna constituency. “I have been working both in Gurgaon and Sohna, and it will be a privilege to fight and win a seat for HAJKA”, he asserts. Dayma hopes to win in Sohna because it is a Gujjar-dominated constituency, a community to which he belongs. However, he adds that people from all ‘biradris’ support him as he has been working at the grassroots level. Referring to the AAP challenge, he says that it is a party that attracts the urban elite and would not be effective in a rural state like Haryana - where local issues and long-term relationship decide the fate of politicians. He accepts that the arrival of AAP has added more masala to the electoral battle, in a State where everyone is trying to capitalise on the public anger against the Congress misrule.







The large turnout in the Rohtak Rally organized by the Aam Aadmi Party in the citadel of Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, has sent alarm bells ringing in the Congress - while BJP is worried about the implications of the spread of Kejriwal’s party across Haryana. Political watchers say that more than the turnout, the AAP Rally in Rohtak carries a broader political message. With Congress fortunes on the wane due to allegations of corruption and discrimination, it is being felt that AAP will definitely hurt the BJP at the hustings. Rohtak has been the fiefdom of the Hooda family since at least a hundred years, and it was Ch Ramji Lal alongwith Matu Ram Hooda (the grandfather of the current CM),who did pioneering work among the Jat peasantry, which established the dominance of this family in the political and social discourse of the area. While Bhupinder Singh Hooda and his son Dipender Hooda, who is the MP from Rohtak, have further strengthened their hold over Rohtak and adjoining areas, it has also led to strong disaffection in people from other parts of the State - particularly South Haryana and other Jat strongholds where INLD holds the key. It is being alleged that Hooda has acted more like a CM of Rohtak and a few other areas, rather than the whole of Haryana. 

During the Rohtak Rally it became clear that Kejriwal and his team are going all out against Hooda, and the mode of the election campaign in this State would be on the lines of Delhi - where strong allegations, protests and demonstrations were carried out by AAP against Sheila Dikshit, to cash on the popular mood. An AAP leader told Friday Gurgaon that issues in Haryana are similar to those in Delhi, with rampant corruption and nepotism ruling the roost. People from Haryana also account for the largest number of migrants to the National Capital (followed by people from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar). AAP leader Yogender Yadav has accused the Haryana CM of being steeped in corruption, and targeted both the Congress and BJP for having close relations with capitalists. Kejriwal also raised the problems being faced by farmers and ex-servicemen, who are in large numbers in the State. Political insiders believe that AAP will certainly attract certain sections of population in Haryana who are unhappy with the current party and system. AAP leader S C Talwar told Friday Gurgaon that Haryana could be a good hunting ground for AAP, as the maximum number of volunteers in the Party have come from this State. Kejriwal’s charge on the BJP, about its proposed alliance with a ‘corrupt’ INLD, has also put the Party in a quandry. The INLD could be very handy for the Jat support - the Chautalas have a strong following and a good cadre base in their strongholds. HJC (Kuldip Bishnoi) is also opposed to an alliance with the Chautalas. However, ultimately the personal preferences are likely to be overridden as the NDA negotiators are trying to create a large alliance in Haryana, to ensure the maximum Parliamentary votes for Modi. 

Despite the Modi wave, a political analyst claims that people are still not bowled over. The Gurgaon Lok Sabha constituency, despite being close to the National Capital, and undergoing a massive urban transformation, is still likely to vote on caste, religion and local basis. There are almost 17 lakhs voters in Gurgaon, of which 4 lakhs are Mevs, 3.5 lakhs Yadavs, 1 lakh Brahmins, 1 lakh Punjabis, 85,000 Rajputs, 72,000 Banias, 70,000 Gujjars, 2.5 lakhs SC voters and around 2 lakhs OBCs. As per the past trends, almost 80 per cent Yadavs vote for a Yadav candidate, and this could lead to a split of votes if there are two or three strong Yadav candidates. The Mevs of Mewat always support a Mev candidate, and vote en  bloc - but the presence of two strong Mev candidates like Mohd Iliyas, and Aaftab Ahmed (from the Congress) could also split the Muslim votes and help Rao Inderjit Singh. It is being speculated that INLD is supporting Rao’s candidature from Gurgaon, and that is the reason it might give the ticket to Iliyas. A recent survey by an independent political outfit says that the presence of Yogender Yadav could help AAP secure around 10 to 15 per cent of the votes, but it will not make a major dent in the final tally. It is also being estimated that Mewat could witness 80 per cent polling, whereas Gurgaon might see 60 to 65 per cent voting – and Rewari, Pataudi, Bawal and adjoining areas could see 70 per cent polling (based on past experience). Political analysts say that if the Mevs consolidate behind a Muslim candidate, it could lead to Hindus in the remaining constituencies getting behind a single powerful candidate - and that could be Rao Inderjit Singh.

Political aspirants for Gurgaon Lok Sabha seat:

Rao Inderjit Singh, BJP, is the sitting MP, and has dominated politics in South Haryana for the last three decades. He is also held in awe by the numerically dominant Ahirs in this area.

Yogendra Yadav, AAP, is the flavour of the season. He is the Party ideologue and also comes from the Ahir Community. He could pose problems for Rao Inderjit.

Sara Pilot might attract the Muslim and Gujjar vote, being the daughter of Farooq Abdullah and wife of Sachin Pilot. 

Chiranjeev Rao is the son of a powerful Rewari politician Captain Ajay Yadav. He seems to lacks the much-needed charisma.

Mohd Ilyas is a social worker from Mewat, and is a popular leader. Being a Mev he will attract Muslims, but is unlikely to make an impact outside Mewat.

Sudha Yadav is a former MP and BJP leader. She might get the mandate from Mahendergarh-Bhiwani.

Rao Narvir Singh is an affluent politician who has spent considerable resources in the run-up to the polls and has been worst hit by Rao Inderjit’s inclusion in the BJP. He might be given either a Lok Sabha ticket or an Assembly ticket in the ensuing polls.


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