Ready for the Battle

  • Abhishek Behl / FG
  • India
  • Aug 08, 2014




INLD: GC Gehlot

INLD has made the first move in the political battle in Haryana, by announcing the names of 62 candidates for the ensuing elections in the State. Political observers opine that this ‘timely’ announcement will definitely give an edge to the Party - which has been on the back foot due to the conviction and incarceration of patriarch Om Prakash Chautala. From Gurgaon, the INLD has announced the name of Gopi Chand Gehlot, who is a senior leader and former Deputy Speaker of Haryana. Many say that he will give a tough fight to the ascendant BJP. Gehlot spoke to Friday Gurgaon about his candidature from Gurgaon, and asserted that every major civil work and development in the Millennium City has happened under the INLD government led by Om Prakash Chautala. An INLD veteran, he also claims that discrimination with Gurgaon has turned this city into a backyard of Haryana, despite it contributing a major share of revenue to the State. “Congress has ruled Haryana for the last 10 years, and prior to that also it was ruling under different Chief Ministers, who failed to do anything for the people of Gurgaon. The INLD has fought for the rights of the people here, and participated in every agitation against this injustice,” he asserts. “It was when the INLD was in power from 2000 to 2005, Gehlot says, that the Chautala government decided to bring the Metro to the City; it also ensured the construction of the Mini-Secretariat; and it constructed the Tau Devi Lal stadium - as also a number of large of parks in the City. We also ensured that a government hospital in Sector 9, and an ESI Hospital, is constructed here,” he says.  He asserts that the INLD would transform the City completely, if voted to power in the State. “The neglect of ten years would take time to get undone, but the Party is committed to give jobs, create opportunities, build infrastructure and ensure that there is no discrimination with Gurgaon,” he adds. When asked about how the Party plans to challenge a resurgent BJP, which under the leadership of PM Modi and BJP Chief Amit Shah is hoping to bring the first ‘saffron’ government, Gehlot says confidently that in the Assembly polls the issues would be local and no Modi ‘magic’ or ‘wave’ is going to work. He also points out that BJP has never been a strong contender for power in the state of Haryana; it has been limited to urban centres. Referring to his expected opponents in the Congress and BJP in Gurgaon, Gehlot says that none of them has done anything for Gurgaon, and most of the opponents are hoping to use money power and influence to win - which is not going to help them. “I have worked in the field for several years, and I am connected with the people; this time the mood is to give a chance to INLD, to correct the vast disparity created by the Congress,” says Gehlot.

He has also outlined an agenda for Gurgaon, which includes connecting ‘old’ Gurgaon with the Metro, setting up a world-class university, as also a new park (on the lines of Leisure Valley) in ‘old’ Gurgaon, permanently resolving the problems of the residents in the 900 meters restricted area around the IAF Depot, ensuring 50 per cent reservation to locals in private companies, ending  the licence permit (builder) raj, and constructing multi-storeyed parking complexes. Gehlot is hopeful that people across the city will support his candidature. His office (in Sector 15 – near Civil Lines) is brimming with activity, with people from all walks of life coming to meet him. Political watchers opine that Gehlot could prove to be a strong candidate, as he has the experience and connects well with the 40,000 strong Jat voters (out of a total 3 lakhs voters) in Gurgaon. A number of Jat dominated villages will be supporting his candidature. However, his chances are likely to be spoiled if former INLD Youth leader Gaje Singh Kablana, who is bearing a grudge because of the refusal of the Party’s mandate to him, decides to stand. Kablana is also a Jat, and has strong roots in the IAF Depot area. He could divide the Jat votes in the constituency. Other candidates like RS Rathee and Labour leader Kuldip Janghu could also cut into the Jat votes. Gehlot is however confident that the people of Gurgaon this time will vote for the Chautalas, as some of the best work for the City has come under their government(s). Asked about the authoritarian image of the Party, which specially scares urban voters, Gehlot denies the charge, saying that his Party has been fighting for the cause of the people.


BJP: GL Sharma

After a landslide victory in the Lok Sabha elections, there is a strong wave of resurgence in the Haryana BJP, with Party leaders sniffing a chance of establishing the first ‘saffron’ government in the State. Under the astute leadership of Party Chief Amit Shah, the BJP has started to make strong moves in the political battlefield. After ensuring the entry of South Haryana strongman Rao Inderjit Singh (from the Congress), BJP has now managed to get Ch Virender Singh - another Congress veteran - to join its ranks, while close Hooda aide Vinod Sharma is also knocking the Party doors. While the battle for Party tickets is getting shriller, both political analysts and Party leaders feel that in GL Sharma, close aide of Gurgaon MP Inderjit Singh, is the frontrunner to get the Gurgaon mandate. Sharma, who has been working in Gurgaon, Mahendergarh and Rewari areas for the last three decades, says that he will abide by the Party verdict. He continues to work hard to strengthen the BJP rank and file. “We want to ensure that the misrule of Congress ends, and BJP comes to power in the State. Only if this happens will the people be able to get justice,” says Sharma. He recently opened offices in Rajendra Park and Rajiv Nagar, and two more shall be opened in other mandals of the Party. The reason for opening these offices is to ensure better interaction with the people. Apart from noting their problems (and their voter registration status), the data and information would be used to frame the Party Manifesto for the Gurgaon Vidhan Sabha. Being clearly a strong contender for the Party ticket, Sharma has been holding a series of  meetings in the city, and during one such event in 4/8 marlas he asserts, “For the last 10 years no single college has been opened in Gurgaon, the bus stand is in a shambles, the Civil Hospital does not have adequate equipment and manpower, there is no resolution of the 900 meters area, the unauthorised colonies in the City have seen no development work.” Addressing a strongly Punjabi crowd, Sharma asks the large number of youth in characteristic ‘Modi style’ , “Have you got employment with the government; how many of you have got jobs even in private companies?” The reply is spontaneous, as the youth shout slogans against the Hooda government, which they allege has done nothing for the people.  Jobs and development have benefitted the people of Rohtak only. The BJP leader asks them why even private companies in the Gurgaon - Manesar belt are not ready to employ local youth, and why the local businessmen and traders are suffering due to the ‘licence permit raj’. He once again taps into the feeling of the crowd when he refers to the rampant corruption and indifference of the bureaucracy in Gurgaon, which he accuses of working only to further the interests of the ruling Party. Taking a dig at his former Party leaders, Sharma tells the gathering that during a recent visit of the Chief Minister to Gurgaon, the Congress Party leaders did not raise the issues of the 900 meters area, unauthorised colonies and traffic jams, but instead asked him to save the Party office - which has been built at Kaman Sarai (allegedly ‘illegally’). “What kind of leaders are these who are not willing to voice the concerns of the people?” he asks the crowd - which applauds loudly. Sharma thanks the people of Gurgaon for voting and supporting PM Modi and BJP candidate Rao Inderjit Singh during the Lok Sabha polls, but tells them that most of the development work, employment issues and related matters of the residents people of Gurgaon and Haryana can be resolved only when the BJP comes to power in the State. “I want you to repeat what you did in the Lok Sabha polls and vote for the Party in large numbers,” he exhorts. While the BJP has yet not decided on the list of candidates for the Haryana Assembly elections, it is clear that the Party is expecting major gains in the State. It is also expected that the guidance of the RSS, as well as its strong network of pracharaks could also play an important role in the ensuing Haryana elections. Political watchers add that with Party Chief Amit Shah laying emphasis on the winnability of candidates, it is most likely that the BJP will do very well. Local leaders like Sharma, who have nurtured their constituencies for long, are now banking upon the Party to take notice of their hard work and are waiting with their fingers crossed. The BJP would do well to finalise the Party candidates soon.υ




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