High-Stakes Badshahpur

  • Abhishek Behl / FG
  • India
  • Aug 22, 2014




With the Kaithal rally of Prime Minister Modi setting the political tone in Haryana for the ensuing elections, the fight for tickets is getting shriller, particularly in South Haryana's Badshahpur, which is perhaps one of the largest and most prestigious assembly constituencies. While Ahirs dominate the area numerically, the Jaats are not far behind in strength - the former are about 80,000 and the latter about 60,000. In fact this status would allow Punjabis, Brahmins and Banias in this constituency to play a significant role. While INLD has declared Rakesh Janghu (Daultabad) as its candidate, none of the others have yet decided. In the BJP it is being speculated that someone close to the Gurgaon MP and Union Minister Rao Inderjit Singh could get a ticket, as there is a feeling that an Ahir candidate would be a better choice in this constituency. However, the candidature of Rao Narbir Singh cannot be ruled out, as the Party might want to mollify him (his candidature for the Lok Sabha seat had to be nixed by the Party High Command to accommodate Rao Inderjit Singh - who had switched from the Congress to the BJP last year). While Rao Narbir’s contribution is acknowledged, the Party is unlikely to go a long way to make him happy, because he does not have a very strong mass base following, and is also known for Party-hopping. Rao Narbir’s grandfather and father were leading politicians of the area, and represented their constituencies many times. He also became the youngest cabinet minister in Haryana in 1987, in the Devi Lal government. He joined the BJP in 2011. The stock of Kamal Yadav, a close confidante of former Gurgaon MP Sudha Yadav (now a senior Party leader), has also risen in the past few days, and he has gone on an office-opening spree in the last one month. With Badshahpur being quite a large constituency (it includes Manesar, Farrukhnagar, and all rural and some urban areas of Gurgaon), most Parties open offices in different parts of the constituency. Yadav has the resources and the ability to fight the election, but Sudha Yadav may not have enough clout to get him the ticket. In the current scenario, where the BJP has decided against announcing a CM candidate, the ability to get Party tickets for their followers, and ensuring their victory, could decide who would be the future leader. There is no doubt that in many seats of South Haryana, the people close to Rao could be the best candidates to ensure a win for the BJP, as people in the Ahirwal region, and particularly the Yadavs, want to see a Chief Minister from this area. Rao Abhay Singh has been a long-term associate of the Gurgaon MP, but he is a low profile personality, and his politics has revolved around the persona of his leader. Mayor Vimal Yadav, though a little high profile, is quite young. His relative inexperience could prove a roadblock in him getting a mandate. Another contender for the Badshahpur seat is Mukesh Sharma, who got the ticket the last time but lost the election, as Congress leader Rao Dharmpal won the seat with good numbers. Mukesh is one of the most aggressive campaigners in this constituency, and has spent considerable resources. However, being a Brahmin by caste in this Ahir and Jaat dominated seat, could work against him. Also, it is likely that the BJP seat could go to a Brahmin in Gurgaon, and the Party is unlikely to repeat a candidate from the same caste in Badshahpur - as it would annoy the Yadavs. Political watchers say that in case BJP gives the ticket to a non-Ahir candidate, it would help Rakesh Janghu (Daultabad), a Jaat representing the INLD, win this seat. He is not only popular in his own caste but has support across the constituency, because he has nurtured the area with his social work. Janghu, who gave a big scare to the Congress candidate, Rao Dharmpal, the last time, would get more Jaat votes this time, but this could also antagonise other communities who rooted for him in the past. Where Janghu could do well is the unauthorised colonies, and villages, where he has been running free ambulances, bus services, organising health camps and generally helping the poor. However, despite these strengths, the caste composition is still going to play an important role in the Badshahpur constituency, aver political watchers. Rao Dharmpal may not be very popular, but his being an Ahir is a big positive, apart from his strong support across the constituency. He is also close to CM Bhupinder Hooda. Being financially strong will also help Dharmpal, though it is being speculated that he is not in a mood to fight the assembly polls and wants his son to be given the Party mandate. Another ticket seeker who has nurtured this large constituency is BJP's new joinee Lakhpat Kataria, who also has spent a massive amount of money in the run up to the elections. Kataria’s rustic persona, and his Jaat antecedents, may not help him much, but he worked hard during the Lok Sabha elections and supported Rao Inderjit Singh strongly in the polls. 


Speculation is rife that there could also be a surprise candidate in the form of Arti Rao daughter of the Gurgaon MP, who is most likely to fight from either Badshahpur or Rewari. Currently Rewari is likely to be the ‘playground’ of the Rampura House scion, as Rao Inderjit is also looking to decimate his long time bete noire Captain Ajay Singh, who has won this seat for the Congress a record six times. 

The real fight in Badshahpur assembly constituency is going to take place between the BJP and the INLD. The Congress could act as a spoiler. The people in Badshahpur seem to be in a mood to give a chance to the BJP, specially since it is also at the Centre; and they hope that a BJP victory across the State could get them a government that is at least not parochial – rather, has some soft corner for South Haryana.

Caste composition of Badshahpur

Around 85,000 Ahirs, 55,000 Jaats, 25,000 Brahmins, 14,000 Rajputs, 11,000 Punjabis and 10,000 Banias. 

Caste composition of Gurgaon

Around 55,000 Punjabis, 50,000 Brahmins, 30,000 Jaats and 27,000 Ahirs. 



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