By Jaideep Sarin & Piyush Sarna
Chandigarh, April 26 (IANS) Dynasties and political lineage have been a dominant aspect of Haryana’s electoral scene through decades and the ongoing Lok Sabha elections are no different.
Like the past, family members and kin of various political veterans are in the fray in Haryana where elections will be held at all the 10 Lok Sabha constituencies on May 12.
They include family members or kin of former Deputy Prime Minister Devi Lal, former Chief Ministers Bansi Lal and Bhajan Lal, peasant leader Sir Chhotu Ram, the family of Chaudhary Ranbir Singh (his son is Bhupinder Singh Hooda), a descendant of Raja Rao Tula Ram, members of the Jindal industrial house family.
From the Devi Lal/Chautala clan, there has been a Deputy Prime Minister, Chief Ministers, ministers, MPs and legislators (MLAs) spanning over five decades.
Hisar Member of Parliament (MP) Dushyant Chautala, great grand son of Devi Lal, acknowledges that political lineage had brought him into public life but says that getting elected and sustaining that connect with the public has to come from within a leader.
“Proceedings of Parliament pinpoint to the fact that there was not even a single day in Lok Sabha when the voice of Hisar was not raised since I was elected by the people of Hisar in 2014,” Dushyant, who holds the record of being the youngest MP in the Lok Sabha at the age of 26 years and one month in May 2014, told IANS.
“If you compare the work and development done by the Hisar MP and other MPs of Haryana, you will certainly come to know the difference of efforts made by me,” he added.
Dushyant, who won the previous election as the INLD candidate and is now representing the Jannayak Janata Party (JJP) which he founded recently, said people now want change as 50 per cent of the population is below the age of 45 years,
The grand-son of former Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala, Dushyant and his younger brother Digvijay Chautala have broken off ties with their grand father and his party, Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) and formed the JJP to take their politics further.
Former Union Defence Minister and Chief Minister Bansi Lal’s family is also in active politics in the state.
His grand-daughter, Shruti Choudhary, is contesting on a Congress ticket from the Bhiwani-Mahendergarh seat this time. She was elected from the Bhiwani seat in 2009.
Her mother Kiran Choudhary is a Congress legislator in Haryana and a former minister.
Bansi Lal’s son, Surender Singh (Shruti’s father), was a cabinet minister in the state when he died in a helicopter crash in March 2005.
Pitted against Dushyant in Hisar is political debutant Bijendra Singh of the BJP.
He is the son of Union Steel Minister Birender Singh and great grand son of peasant leader and former minister Sir Chhotu Ram. His mother, Prem Lata, is a Congress legislator in Haryana.
Asked about his dynastic background, Bijendra, who recently quit his job as a senior IAS officer in Haryana to join politics, told IANS: “I don’t believe that I haven’t achieved by myself in my life. I completed my studies and even cleared the civil services examination. After working for 21 years, I came into politics after creating my own identity and did not start my career under my father’s shadow.”
A product of New Delhi’s Modern School (Barakhamba Road) and St. Stephen’s College, 46-year-old Bijendra did Masters in History from Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi in 1994.
Former Chief Minister Bhajan Lal’s grandson Bhavya Bishnoi too has entered the political field as the Congress candidate from Hisar. His parents, Kuldeep Bishnoi and Renuka Bishnoi, are Congress legislators in Haryana.
Bhavya’s grandmother, Jasma Devi, was a legislator earlier and his uncle (Kuldeep’s elder brother) Chander Mohan, was Deputy Chief Minister in Haryana.
“I will serve the people of Hisar with same zeal and dedication as Chaudhary Bhajan Lal had done. Both my opponents are outsiders in Hisar constituency,” Bhavya, who holds a Master of Science degree in Contemporary India from Oxford’s St. Antony College, said, as he urged voters to elect him.
The Congress has gambled this time by fielding the father-son duo of Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Deepinder Singh Hooda from Sonipat and Rohtak Lok Sabha seats, respectively.
Hooda senior, who was Chief Minister from 2005 to 2014, is the son of former minister (in undivided Punjab) Chaudhary Ranbir Singh.
Deepinder, who holds a bachelor of technology (B.Tech.) degree as also an MBA degree (from Kelley School of Business, Indiana University, Bloomington, USA), has won the Rohtak seat thrice earlier. After working with the Reliance Industries and IT-giant Infosys, he quit his job in Dallas in 2005 to join politics.
Union minister Rao Inderjit Singh is a descendant of freedom movement leader (1857 War of Independence) Raja Rao Tula Ram. He has considerable influence on the Ahir community.
The Jindal family from Hisar, which owns the multi-billion Jindal Group of companies, too has been active in Haryana politics.
The family patriarch, O.P. Jindal, was a legislator and cabinet minister. He died in a helicopter crash in March 2005. His wife, Savitri Jindal, who has been listed as the richest woman in the country, remained a legislator and a minister in the state.
Jindal’s son, Naveen Jindal, has been a MP from Kurukshetra (2004 and 2009), though he has decided not to contest this time.
Congress party’s national spokesman Randeep Surjewala, who is a legislator in the state and a former minister, is the son of former minister and state Congress president Shamsher Singh Surjewala. Randeep was a lawyer before entering politics.
(Jaideep Sarin can be reached at [email protected])