Battle for Hisar gets fierce, Anna factor adds to Cong woes

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Congress
Hisar, Oct 9: With three political heavyweights locked in a triangular contest, the battle for Hisar Lok Sabha seat has turned fierce, but ruling Congress" worries have increased as it has to fight not only its opponents but also tackle Team Hazare"s campaign against it.

Congress has fielded three-time MP from Hisar, Jai Prakash (58). He is pitted against Haryana Janhit Congress" Kuldeep Bishnoi (42) whose party is the main opposition in Haryana besides INLD"s Ajay Singh Chautala (50).

In all, there are 40 candidates, mostly independents, in the fray for the October 13 bypolls in the parliamentary constituency which has approximately 13.32 lakh voters including 7.29 lakh males.

HJC founder and former Chief Minister Bhajan Lal, a veteran non-Jat politician whose death in June necessitated the byelection, had got 2.48 lakh votes in 2009 Lok Sabha polls, with Sampat Singh (now a Congress leader) coming in the number two spot with 2.41 lakh votes and Congress" Jai Prakash finishing third with 2.04 lakh votes.

Ajay, at present MLA from Dabwali in Sirsa district, is son of INLD President and former Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala while Bishnoi is hoping to cash on the good image his father late Bhajan Lal has left among the voters here.

HJC President Bishnoi recently weaved an alliance with the BJP and the saffron party leaders have been campaigning for him.

Even though bypolls normally are not much of a bother for the ruling party, this time the dynamics are different and Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda knows it all too well and has been camping here for the past fortnight canvassing for his party candidate.

With opposition launching scathing attacks on Congress on the corruption front and numerous scams that have rocked the UPA, it is the Anna factor that has added to the party"s woes.

Team Anna members have been criss-crossing the constituency distributing Hazare"s CDs and holding public meetings urging voters not to vote for the Congress as it has failed to bring Jan Lokpal Bill in Parliament.

Team Anna activists Arvind Kejriwal, who hails from here, and Manish Sisodia, asked voters of Hisar to teach the Congress a lesson so that it is forced to accept and pass the Bill.

Mr. Kejriwal asked the voters to inflict a “historic defeat" on the Congress and added, “It will be Anna"s victory". He also alleged that Congress fears that half of its ministers will land up in jail, which is why it was adopting delaying tactics over the Jan Lokpal Bill.

However, Congress has tried to put up a brave front, with state unit chief Phool Chand Mullana, saying the party was not perturbed by their campaign and people will cast votes because they know only Congress is their well-wisher and can ensure development.

“People will vote for development. Congress government has ensured all round development in the state including in Hisar, where we have spent more funds than any other previous regimes," Mr. Hooda says giving figures to support his claim and dismissing opposition charge that his government has discriminated against Hisar.

Mr. Hooda says Anna has been “misguided" and the party is not nervous due to team Anna"s presence in Hisar.

After Haryana was carved out in 1996 from then undivided Punjab, the Hisar seat was won by the Congress on five occasions -1967, 1971, 1984, 1991 and 2004.

PTI

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