Battleground Gurgaon

  • Abhishek Behl / FG
  • India
  • Mar 14, 2014

Despite Gurgaon going to the polls on April 10, most of the political parties have still not officially declared their candidates - with only the AAP declaring the name of Yogender Yadav as nominee for the Lok Sabha seat. Yadav, in a recent fundraiser, said that he and the Aam Aadmi Party would work towards brining about cleaner politics and governance in the State - which have been compromised on account of the nexus between politicians, builders and bureaucrats. While AAP was supposed to launch Yadav’s campaign with a Kejriwal roadshow, it was postponed due to the AAP leader’s engagements in Gujarat and Mumbai. Yadav also said that he had asked the Party to give him at least two months, if it wanted him to fight the Gurgaon Lok Sabha seat, as it is a large constituency. While the Party did grant him the time, the AAP campaign has still not caught the imagination of the people; perhaps their star campaigner Kejriwal's presence is required, to ignite the fervour. AAP has yet to create a system, though it has been able to register a large number of volunteers. Yogender Yadav was for a moment stumped while addressing the Party workers, when they said that instead of fighting elections in the entire country, AAP should have stuck to Delhi and Haryana. He then answered that some others in the Party also believed so, and the answer will now come from the election result. He however asserted that their goal was not only to win elections but also to change the manner in which politics is ‘played’ in the country. He said that the reason why the BJP did not even try to ‘buy’ MLAs in Delhi was only because AAP had acted as a political watchdog - and has now set a standard for other parties. 

Meanwhile, the BJP has got a shot in the arm with the entry of South Haryana strongman and current Gurgaon MP, Rao Inderjit Singh – and that too well in time. The Gurgaon MP has promised the people of Haryana, especially those in his political constituency of South Haryana, that ending the discrimination in development and employment, and the building of infrastructure, would be his top priority. While Rao Inderjit has strong support among the Yadavs, his entry into the BJP will also enable him to get the upper caste Brahmin, Bania and Rajput votes, while other OBCs are also likely to vote for him. Modi's OBC tag is also likely to play a motivating factor in other OBCs voting for the BJP. However, what can trouble Rao is a strong Muslim Congress candidate, who can get the Meo votes - which are almost 4 lakhs in number - and that too en bloc. However, it is most likely that the Congress will field Chiranjeev Rao, the son of the Power Minister - another Yadav strongman, Captain Ajay Yadav. If this happens then it is likely that the Yadav votes will get divided, but the relative inexperience of Chiranjeev could prove to be a handicap – especially in garnering Meo votes in large numbers. The Meos in Mewat could either vote for Mohd Iliyas from INLD, Zakir Hussain or Aftab Ahmed – depending on which of them gets their Party’s ticket. Yogender Yadav from AAP could also get almost 10 per cent of the Meo votes, and this will leave the Congress candidate a little weakened. It would also be to the advantage of Rao Inderjit Singh if the Muslim votes get split, and his loyal Yadav supporters as well upper caste BJP walas vote for him. Another important consideration, which till the last elections has been discounted in urban-rural seats like Gurgaon, is the impact of the urban voters - who are almost 3 lakhs in number. AAP leader Nisha Singh pointed out that urban residents in Gurgaon have realised that it is futile to vote for traditional parties; and like Delhi, they will vote for change this time. While the AAP's focus and claims on the urban voters may be right, it has to be noted that those who voted in Delhi were predominantly urbanites from the lower middle class of the society, who had been badly hit by inflation, and lack of transport and civic facilities. In Gurgaon this class is not that significant; and most people living in gated communities prefer more of discussion than action. The City has been witness to urban apathy towards voting, and it will be a challenge for Yadav and his team to mobilise the classes on the polling day. The BJP cadre, though earlier upset with the ‘gatecrashing’ of Rao Inderjit, seems to have made up its mind to support him, for the bigger cause of making Modi the next PM, and help end the almost 10 year political ‘vanwaas’ of the BJP.


BJP embraces Rao Inderjit Singh at Samman Samaroh

In a major show of both unity and strength, the BJP this week organized a major event to felicitate the entry of Rao Inderjit Singh into its fold, with the State Party Chief, Ram Vilas Sharma, lauding the contributions made by the Gurgaon MP and his family to the State of Haryana, particularly his Lok Sabha constituency of Gurgaon. Sharma, while addressing the large gathering, said that Yadav was welcome into the Party because he had a clean image and an honest persona - which was the need of the hour. “We will not allow corrupt politicians and henchmen of the Congress to enter the BJP or any alliance partner”, asserted Sharma, while obliquely referring to the recent efforts being made by Congress leader Venod Sharma to join Kuldip Bishnoi's Haryana Janhit Congress. He also said that the Aam Aadmi Party was a tool created by the Congress, to prevent Narendra Modi from becoming the next Prime Minister of India. Taking a dig at Kejriwal, Sharma said that the life of a 'jhaadu' – the symbol of the AAP - is only 50 days, and that was the reason why the Party lost power in just 49 days. Gurgaon MP Rao Inderjit Singh, who was felicitated along with his supporters from the Haryana Insaaf Manch, asserted that he joined Narendra Modi because of his commitment to the country and ability to bring about development in Gujarat. Singh alleged that a Prime Minister who could not safeguard the respect of his government, and proved to be more of a silent spectator than an administrator, did not deserve to rule the country. He added that the Congress in Haryana was run like a private company, and there has been no justice given to the people of the State - barring some specific areas. The Gurgaon MP also reiterated that he and his supporters have come into the BJP as followers, and not as leaders. Calling the attention of the BJP leaders and supporters, Rao Inderjit asserted, “Please accept us in the Party fold as your own, and I promise that all of us will follow the Party line and strengthen the ranks, to ensure Modi comes to power in Delhi”. This statement by Yadav elicited the maximum response, and brought smiles to the faces of the BJP workers and leaders, who had been taken aback by the entry of this powerful leader into their Party. Notably, BJP in Haryana does not have a leader who matches the stature and persona of the Rewari scion. Rao Inderjit Singh called on his own supporters as well as the existing Party ranks to also get ready for the next battle, in the form of State elections scheduled for this winter. Political analysts say that with Modi at the Centre, it could be the best possible shot for Rao Inderjit Singh at the post of Chief Ministership of the State - a feat that was achieved by his father (Rao Birendra Singh). Speaking on this occasion, GL Sharma, a close aide of Rao Inderjit, said that they would work hard to ensure that the Party wins all the Lok Sabha seats in Haryana. He said the Gurgaon MP had joined the BJP because it was the demand of not only his supporters but also the people of the State, who wanted to end the misrule of the Congress. Those who were present on the occasion included former BJP MP Sudha Yadav, BJP State incharge Suresh Bhatt, Tejpal Tanwar, Anil Yadav, Rao Abhay Singh, Mahesh Yadav, Umesh Agarwal, Manish Wazirabad, Advocate Baljit Malik, Rajesh Yadav, Deepchand Fouji and other leaders of BJP and the Haryana Insaaf Manch.

Gurgaon MCG turns Saffron

A large number of the Councillors of Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon, including Mayor Vimal Yadav, Senior Deputy Mayor Yashpal Batra and Deputy Mayor Parminder Kataria, who support Rao Inderjit Singh, joined the BJP on this occasion. Although the absence of Batra on the dais raised questions about his joining the Party, the suspicions were laid to rest by Rao Inderjit, who asserted that Batra had indeed joined the BJP. In political circles Batra has been known to be ‘tricky’ customer; recently a building owned by his close relatives had been demolished, allegedly after he got closer to the Rao Inderjit camp - much to the discomfiture of the Chief Minister. Deputy Mayor Parminder Kataria, who had left the BJP because he could not get the Party ticket for the MCG elections, termed his re-entry as a homecoming.







The Real (non-Estate) Test

Despite the Congress facing almost a revolt in Haryana, with first Gurgaon MP Rao Inderjit Singh and now Vinod Sharma (a close aide of CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda) leaving, the Party leaders in Gurgaon are still hopeful that the strong roots of the Party and the munificence that it has bestowed on the people - and particularly on its supporters - will keep it in good stead in the ensuing Lok Sabha polls. Vipin Khanna, President, Gurgaon District Congress (Urban), asserts that their Party is a large ocean and leaders who are leaving now are but small drops of water. It is a different matter that the Congress CM has not been able to get adequate water supply from that ocean to the City, or prevent its misuse of water by builders. The Congress leader is confident that the extensive development work carried out in Gurgaon in the last 10 years will motivate the voters to select his Party. In his opinion, Congress is the only organisation that has the ability to accommodate all castes and communities in Haryana - and that is the reason why it has been winning. When asked about corruption, Khanna suggests that this issue is raised by those people who are disgruntled and have some personal axes to grind. He also refers to opposition parties and asks which one is free of corruption. Referring to AAP, Khanna asserts that the Party has failed to deliver the goods in Delhi, and it would be difficult for Kejriwal and his ilk to make an impact in Haryana. “In Outer Delhi, none of the AAP candidates won, and the voters preferred to go for ‘traditional’ parties,” he asserts. He says that the traditional vote bank of the Congress, and the new urban voters in Gurgaon, will prefer a secular Party like the Congress, which has been able to develop Gurgaon into a world-class City. Prior to Congress rule, Khanna says that Gurgaon was a small town with not much urban development. He claims that the entire development has taken place because of the Hooda government. When asked about the discrimination against South Haryana, and Gurgaon in particular, Khanna dismisses it again with the argument that it is just a political ruse that is being used by Party rebels, and those who are against the all-round development of Haryana. The Congress leader also negates any impact on the prospects of the Party candidate due to the exit of Rao Inderjit Singh, saying that a leader may be big but no one is bigger than the Party - and that any leader who has left the Congress has been a loser in the long run. The Congress leadership is looking for a candidate in Gurgaon who is acceptable across the constituency, and very soon the name would be finalised by the High Command. Khanna says that he became the President of the Urban unit in Gurgaon without asking for this post, as he has been serving the Party for the last several years. “I have worked with CM Hooda for the last 25 years, and wish to reassure everyone that his intentions are never negative towards anyone”, he says, while answering the charge of the MCG targeting the property of an MCG Councillor who is supposed to be close to Rao Inderjit Singh. Despite the pressure, and attacks being faced by the Congress from outside and inside, Khanna, a veteran Congressman, does not lose his cool. And like a traditional Party loyal, he assures that everything is calm - even though a storm may be brewing.



Aam Aadmi Party has opened its new office at Old Judicial Complex, Sector 15, near Mor Chowk. According to the Gurgaon District Coordinator Dr. (Col) SC Talwar, “This Office will help co-ordinate and organise the large number of members that AAP has in Gurgaon. The response is huge and we thank the people of Gurgaon, who are looking to elect Yogendra Yadav.” The Gurgaon Lok Sabha constituency has registered around 2 lakh members of AAP 0 the highest number Pan India. People have lost all faith in the current governance, added Dr Talwar. 




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