He is slogging it out this time in the prestigious constituency which returned him nine times
MANDI ADAMPUR (HISAR): Former Haryana Chief Minister Bhajan Lal, who won the prestigious Adampur seat for the ninth time in 2005 for the Congress by the highest number of votes (71,081), may find the going tough this time as a candidate of the newly floated Haryana Janhit Congress in the by-election scheduled for May 22.
No doubt Adampur is regarded as the pocket-borough of the 77-year-old Mr. Bhajan Lal and he still continues to have a dominant influence especially over the Bishnoi and non-Jat voters. But the Congress nominee Ranjit Singh, son of late ‘Tau’ Devi Lal, and Indian National Lok Dal candidate and former Finance Minister Sampat Singh are also considered to be heavyweights. And overall looms the image of Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda as a go-getter who has initiated major development works in the State.
A visit to Adampur reveals that the area has been neglected for years. The roads are full of potholes, to mention just one indicator. Therefore, when Mr. Hooda and Mr. Ranjit Singh tell the people, both in the urban and rural areas, about lack of development in the constituency which has been represented by the Bhajan Lal family for the past 40 years or so, it leaves an impression.
Mr. Bhajan Lal, who never had to make any efforts at campaigning in his constituency and rather concentrated on the other seats across the State, has turned defensive this time round. He and his younger son Kuldeep Bishnoi, who floated the Haryana Janhit Congress this past December, are telling the workers to ensure that all voters, even those who might have become estranged over the years, must be won back as “each and every vote is precious”.
Even family members of Mr. Bhajan Lal, including his wife, daughter and daughter-in-law, are actively campaigning to counter the efforts of Mr. Ranjit Singh and Mr. Hooda to strike a direct rapport with the fairer sex by enumerating the measures initiated for the welfare of women and the girl child.
However, there is enthusiasm among the supporters of Mr. Bishnoi and they are making a direct appeal to the voters to re-elect Mr. Bhajan Lal with grace and honour especially when this may well be his last election given his state of health. The Congress propaganda that Mr. Bhajan Lal has been politically isolated by his own family (elder son and Deputy Chief Minister Chander Mohan and nephew Dura Ram) is countered by Janhit Congress workers who say that it is common knowledge that the Congress candidate, younger brother of INLD chief Om Parkash Chautala, is facing opposition from a few Congress leaders.