Sitting MP from Hisar and Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC) president Kuldeep Bishnoi is facing seven 'Kuldeep' namesakes in the April 10 Lok Sabha polls this time.
HJC president Kuldeep Bishnoi is facing seven 'Kuldeep' in the April 10 election
Among the 41 candidates in the fray for this seat, there are eight candidates who have the first name 'Kuldeep'. Bishnoi is the only one from a mainline political party while six others are independents. One more 'Kuldeep' is from a less known political outfit.
"There is a definite mischief done every time when someone from Bhajan Lal's family contests from here. Still they manage to win by good margins," Devinder Pal, a supporter of Bishnoi and his HJC, told IANS.
Facing namesakes is nothing new for Bishnoi. In the by-election to the Hisar Lok Sabha seat in October 2011, Bishnoi had to face four namesakes. In the tough face-off in the bypoll with the Indian National Lok Dal leader Ajay Chautala, Bishnoi won by around 6,300 votes.
Aam Aadmi Party candidate and former bureaucrat Yudhbir Singh Khayalia too has a near namesake among Hisar candidates this time. There is an independent candidate called Yudhvir.
Bishnoi's father, Bhajan Lal, a stalwart of Haryana's dusty and defection-ridden politics and a three-time chief minister, had faced five namesakes in the last assembly election he contested in 2008. Bhajan Lal - more famous in the early 1980s for engineering defections to come to power in Haryana - died in June 2011.
Stakes are high for the HJC, the ruling Congress and the INLD on this seat. The AAP too has jumped into the fray this time, making the contest even more uncertain.
Bishnoi faces INLD's Dushyant Chautala, 26, the son of his last opponent in the 2011 bypoll Ajay Chautala and the great-grandson of former deputy prime minister Devi Lal. The third main candidate in the fray is former finance minister Sampat Singh of the Congress.
"In Haryana's politics, namesakes are propped up by vested interests to confuse voters on the name of one of the main candidates," said school teacher Sumant Arora.
For the Bhiwani-Mahendergarh Lok Sabha seat, BJP candidate Dharambir Singh, who deserted the Congress recently, faces three namesakes. All of them are contesting as independents.