Why is BJP after Hoodas in Haryana?
New Delhi, May 08: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is eyeing to defeat former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupender Singh Hooda and his son Deepender Singh Hooda in the Lok Sabha elections to finish Congress from the state, say sources.
Of late, Hoodas have been the face of Congress in Haryana. Despite the Narendra Modi wave in 2014, Deepender won the Rohtak Lok Sabha seat, which was the lone success for the party in the state. Therefore, Rohtak has become the main battleground in the state.
While Deepender is seeking the fourth term from Rohtak, Bhupendra Singh Hooda is contesting elections from Sonipat, where the BJP has fielded its sitting MP Ramesh Chander Kaushik.
Though the BJP has never won Rohtak seat, it won the Sonipat seat in 1999 and 2004.
The present scenario in Rohtak is that Deepender is facing a stiff challenge from the BJP. The BJP candidate Arvind Sharma, a Brahmin, claims of having the support of 35 biradaris (castes) out of 36 as well as of Jats, who account for over 30 per cent of the 16 lakh voters.
Since Hoodas are Jats, so they are confident of getting the support of dominant Jat community in Rohtak, a constituency that they nurtured during the Congress' 10-year rule in the State until 2014.
Their biggest concern is whether they will get the support of non-Jat voters. There are around 3 lakh Scheduled Caste (SC), 1.75 lakh Ahir (Yadavs), 1.20 Punjabis, 1.35 Lakh Brahmins, 80000 Aggarwals and 3 lakh Other Backward Class (OBC) voters.
It's notable that Bhupender Singh Hooda also represented Rohtak in the Lok Sabha in 1991, 1996, and 1998.
The situation is conducive for the BJP this time in Rohtak as apart from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the 2016 Jat agitation is also a factor this time, a Haryana based journalist tells OneIndia.
Though no candidate openly talks about the horrible Jat agitation of February 2016, both the Congress and the BJP are eyeing to derive benefit out of it.
"The BJP has an edge in this regard as the non-Jat community is not ready to forget the sufferings due to the Jat agitation. The BJP feels that the Hoodas instigated Jats to destabilise Manohar Lal Khattar government in the state and that is why they are in the firing line of the BJP. If Hoodas are gone then the Congress will also go from the state," says the journalist.
The Congress also realises importance of retaining the Rohtak seat and that is why Priyanka Gandhi Vadra held a roadshow on Tuesday.
The main focus of the roadshow was to woo the different castes. Leaders of the different castes were given prominence in the posters and banners, says the journalist.
According to her, it may prove costly for the Congress to consider that Jat voters are already in its kitty as Prime Minister Modi has become quite famous among the Jats in Rohtak.
"Since Jats are known for their valour and don't like to bow before anyone, therefore, Prime Minister Modi has become popular among the Jats after the surgical strikes against Pakistan that were carried out in response to the Uri and Pulwama terror attacks," says the journo.
"Many Jats feel that though Deepender is a good choice but even if he wins then he won't be able to do much for the constituency as the Congress is unlikely to form government at the centre," she adds.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to address a rally in Rohtak on Friday, the last of campaigning as the voting for all the 10 seats of Haryana will be conducted on May 12.