Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has put its key ally BJP in a tight spot in Haryana by throwing its weight behind candidates of Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), who are contesting on all the ten Lok Sabha seats in the state.
With efforts by SAD patron and Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal for a pre-poll alliance of BJP with INLD proving futile, the Om Parkash Chautala-led INLD decided to go alone in the Lok Sabha polls.
Haryana is going to polls on April 10.
SAD has an old and strong alliance with BJP in Punjab, but the position of the party is different in neighbouring Haryana. In Haryana BJP has tied up with Kuldeep Bishnoi's Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC). As per the seat sharing formula BJP has fielded its candidates on eight seats leaving Hisar and Sirsa (reserve) for HJC.
SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal's move to mark his presence when INLD's Dushyant Singh filed his nomination papers from Hisar annoyed Bishnoi who shot off a complaint on the issue to the BJP. Dushyant is son of INLD leader Ajay Singh and grandson of INLD supremo Om Parkash Chautala.
The good family ties between Badals and Chautalas is an open secret in political circles. Both the families have supported each other at the hustings.
Now Sukhbir will canvass for INLD candidates from Karnal, Ambala, Kurukshetra, Sirsa and Faridabad, party sources said adding that his father and Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal too will campaign in Haryana.
The Badal's move to canvass for INLD will embarrass BJP, according to a section of leaders of the saffron party while maintaining anonymity.
Sukhbir's move to throw his weight behind INLD in Haryana has put BJP in a catch 22 situation.
A CBI court in January last year sentenced former Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala and his son Ajay Chautala to ten years rigorous imprisonment for illegal selection of over 3,000 junior basic trained (JBT) primary school teachers in 1999-2000 by replacing the original selection lists compiled from 18 Haryana districts with fake ones.
Owing to the taint, the BJP top brass decided against going with the INLD in Haryana.
The BJP-HJC were also at loggerheads on Karnal Lok Sabha before it finally went into the kitty of saffron party.
It was BJP leader Sushma Swaraj who blocked the swift move of businessman Congress MLA Venod Sharma's entry into the saffron party and jump into the electoral battle from Karnal seat.
Swaraj vehemently opposed Sharma's entry into BJP.
Sharma, a heavy weight in Haryana's political circles, was also once considered close to Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda.
Grabbing opportunity, HJC supremo Bishnoi fielded his elder brother and former deputy chief minister Chander Mohan from Karnal seat, but he opted out citing that the Brahmin community wanted that a members from them must contest from the Karnal parliamentary constituency.
Later, BJP and HJC swapped Karnal and Sirsa seat. While BJP fielded political greenhorn Ashwini Kumar from Karnal, HJC put its bet on turncoat and former MP Sushil Kumar Indora from Sirsa.
Meanwhile, the BJP has largely banked on turncoat leaders while allocating seats in Haryana.
The BJP has fielded turncoat leaders for at least four seats while it has a newcomer non-politician for another seat.
Only on three seats, the BJP has been able to find leaders from within its own ranks.
The party has fielded former union minister Rao Inderjit Singh for the Gurgaon Lok Sabha seat, adjoining the national capital. Singh, a sitting Congress MP from Gurgaon who was at loggerheads with Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda for the last three years, finally left Congress earlier this year and joined the BJP.
The BJP has fielded at least two other leaders who quit the Congress recently and joined the BJP on the eve of the elections. They are Dharambir Singh for the Bhiwani- Mahendergarh seat and Ramesh Kaushik for the Sonipat seat.
Dharambir was chief parliamentary secretary (CPS) in the Hooda government till earlier this month. He quit the government and as Congress legislator and is now a BJP candidate.
Another turncoat fielded by the BJP is Raj Kumar Saini for the Kurukshetra seat. Saini was a minister in the Haryana Vikas Party (HVP) government headed by then chief minister Bansi Lal (1996-99).
For the Karnal Lok Sabha seat, the BJP has fielded a political greenhorn Ashwini Chopra `Minna'.
From its own ranks, the BJP has fielded Krishan Pal Gurjar from Faridabad, farmers' leader Om Prakash Dhankar from Rohtak and old war-horse Rattan Lal Kataria for the Ambala reserved seat.
The HJC has fielded its president and sitting MP Kuldeep Bishnoi from Hisar. He used to be a Congress MP earlier before parting ways in 2007.
For the Sirsa-reserved seat, the HJC has fielded former MP Sushil Indora. He was earlier with the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) and later with the Congress. He is now part of the HJC.