CHANDIGARH: A platform for dynastic politics for decades, Haryana is seeing many political families in fray this time too as grandchildren of four former chief ministers, two great grandsons and sons of political bigwigs are trying their luck.
Political families including Chautalas, Bishnois and Hoodas are in fray every election in Haryana, a Jat-dominated state.
However, the grandchildren of the four former chief ministers including Bhajan Lal, Chaudhary Devi Lal, Om Prakash Chautala and Bansi Lal, say they are not contesting the elections riding on the popularity of their families but on basis of the work done in their constituencies.
While the Congress has fielded Bansi Lal's granddaughter Shruti Chaudhary from Bhiwani-Mahendargarh constituency, Bhavya Bishnoi, grandson of Bhajan Lal and son of Kuldip Bishnoi is the party's candidate from Hisar.
Chaudhary, a former MP from the Bhiwani-Mahendargarh constituency, told PTI, Coming from a politically influential family does come with its benefits as the family has a goodwill but voters today cannot be taken for ride. They are not interested in our dynasties but the work done.
Shruti's mother, Kiran Chaudhary, is an MLA from Bhiwan's Tosahm constituency. Three Chautala great grandsons are in fray albeit not from the same party after the Chautala clan split last year following a bitter family feud.
With Om Prakash Chautala being in jail in connection with the teacher recruitment scam, his son Ajay Chautala had broken away from the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) and formed Jannayak Janata Party (JJP) which has formed an alliance with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the state.
While the alliance has fielded Dushyant Chautala and Digvijay Chautala from Hisar and Sonepat respectively, Arjun Chautala, son of Abhay Chautala, is the INLD candidate from Kurukshetra constituency.
Hisar, the industrial hub of Haryana and a politically crucial constituency, is seeing a triangular contest among grandsons.
Digvijay Chautala and Bhavya Bishnoi are pitted against Brijendra Singh, the great grandson of prominent farmer leader Chotu Ram and son of Union Minister Birender Singh.
I am not entering politics because I had nowhere to go. I have carved my own path in civil services, fairly succeeded at that and I am entering mainstream politics when I am confident I can bring substance to the table, Singh told PTI.
And the dynasty politics theory does not apply to me as my party (BJP) is against it and hence my father has already submitted his resignation both from the Ministry and Rajya Sabha, he added.
Rao Inderjit Singh, a Union Minister and son of former Haryana Chief Minister Rao Birender Singh, is in fray from Gurgaon.
Singh, the sitting MP from Gurgaon, had ended his family's decades old association with the Congress ahead of the 2014 elections and joined the BJP.
Kuldeep Sharma, a former Haryana Speaker, the Congress candidate from Karnal is also in the fray to retain his family legacy.
The Karnal seat was won by his late father Chiranji Lal four times in a row, thrice defeating BJP bigwig Sushma Swaraj.
Also in the fray are Hooda father-son duo with Bhupender Singh Hooda, a former Haryana Chief Minister, contesting from Sonepat constituency and his son Deepender Singh Hooda contesting from Rohtak.
The Hooda son, who is a sitting MP from Rohtak constituency, was the lone Congress candidate to win in 2014 Lok Sabha elections. However, the Hoodas do not see a problem with dynasty politics.
He told PTI, "if people have been voting for us for several terms means they have faith in us and find us credible. What is the problem with that?" Deepender Singh Hooda said, "We have a family legacy to maintain but the entire Haryana knows what kind of work has been done by us over the decades in the state.
If generations of a family are dedicated to working for public, what is the harm?" Polling in 10 Haryana constituencies including Rohtak, Sirsa, Sonepat, Hisar, Gurgaon, Faridabad, Bhiwani-Mahendargarh, Kurukshetra, Karnal and Ambala, is scheduled for May 10.