CHANDIGARH: The BJP and Congress are raising national issues in the Hisar and Sirsa Lok Sabha seats as the saffron party seeks votes in the name of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and national security, while the Congress indulges in Modi bashing and highlighting the failures of the NDA Government.
The Jannayak Janata Party (JJP) is raising local issues in Hisar where its candidate is trumpeting what he has done for the constituency in the last five years, although the drinking water problem here is yet to be rectified. In Sirsa, the main talk among farmers is the issue of not getting proper compensation for cotton and groundnuts.
In both these seats, the ruling BJP, besides raising national issues, also talks about the good governance and corruption-free administration it has given in the state. On the other hand, the Congress is hitting back by criticising demonetisation and GST as well as citing the deteriorating law and order situation, farmer debt and recruitments scam.
It is a triangular contest between three political families in Hisar. Former IAS officer Brjiendra Singh of the BJP, who is the son of Union minister Birender Singh and great-grandson of farmer leader Chottu Ram, is locking horns with sitting MP Dushyant Chautala of the JJP, who is the great-grandson of former deputy prime minister Chaudhary Devi Lal, and the Congress's Bhavya Bishnoi, an Oxford graduate and grandson of former chief minister Bhajan Lal.
The caste combination will have an effect in this seat as thirty-three per cent voters are Jats. The Congress hopes that the Jat vote will be divided among Dushyant, Brjiendra and Suresh Koth of INLD and the non-Jat vote will be consolidated behind Bhavya of the Congress as he belongs to the Bishnoi community. But political experts say Brjiendra is also expected to get non-Jat and urban votes thus making it an interesting fight.
The home turf of the Chautala clan, Sirsa is a reserved seat and is considered to be a bastion of the now wobbling INLD and the newly formed JJP. The BJP has never won this seat, while the INLD has won it three times and the Congress has bagged it eight times. The Janata Dal, Lok Dal and Janata Party won from here once.
The battle is between Sunita Duggal of the BJP, Ashok Tanwar of the Congress and Charanjeet Singh Rohri of the INLD, the sitting MP. Duggal, a former IRS officer, contested the assembly elections in 2014 from Ratia, one of the assembly segments under the seat, but lost to Ravinder Baliana of the INLD by 400 votes.
This seat has 25 per cent Jat voters and 30 per cent scheduled castes besides Brahmins, Baniyas and Punjabis. The split in the INLD and formation of the JJP will divide the votes of both these parties as their vote bank is the same.
The Dera Sacha Sauda also has its headquarters here and will play an important role as it can swing votes in six of the nine assembly segments in this seat. The Congress candidate Ashok Tanwar who is the Haryana Congress President is trying to seek the support of the dera and has attended one of its congregations.
The followers of the dera are divided over giving support to the saffron party as their chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh is behind bars now. In 2014, the dera supported the BJP but the INLD won and the Congress came second.