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Ladwa: A Tough Fight for the Parties

Ladwa: A Tough Fight for the Parties, naya haryana, नया हरियाणा

29th September 2014

Naya Haryana

Ladwa is a city falling within the Kurukshetra district and is a municipal committee. It has a population of 126,704 registered voters and became an assembly constituency of the Kurukshetra parliamentary constituency in the year 2007.

Ladwa is a town located on the Kurukshetra-Yamunanagar-Saharanpur road and the Grand Trunk road or National Highway 1 is 14.5 kms away. The economy of Ladwa, along with 53 of its villages, is primarily agrarian and sees bumper crops in most years. As a result, one of Asia's youngest wholesale grain market is located here.

Ever since Ladwa became an assembly seat, the area has been a hotbed for political activity. In 2009, the main political contest for the seat was fought between Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) and the Indian National Congress (INC).

INLD candidate in 2009 election was Sher Singh Barshami, who won the seat defeating Smt Kailasho Saini of INC, by a narrow margin of 2,505 votes. Sher Singh Barshami polled 32,505 votes, while Smt Kailasho Saini got 30,000 votes.

It was a strong contest at the time, with a lot of political heat exchanged between the two parties for domination. While Smt Kailasho Saini lost narrowly, the result reflected a strong support for both candidates. The INC went on to continue its dominance in the state winning a clear majority that year.

With this background, the INC felt it stood a good chance with Smt Kailasho Saini who had managed to gather a strong support base for herself in the constituency and given the fact that post winning the assembly seat, Sher Singh Barshami found himself in jail, along with the party chief Om Prakash Chautala and his son, Ajay Chautala, following the jail sentencing with regard to the Junior Basic Teacher Recruitment scam. However, with Sher Singh Barshami in jail, the field is open to all parties to capitalise on the opportunity.

INLD on its part, continues to believe that it still holds the faith of the Jat community in the area and still views late Ch. Devi Lal, as their iconic leader. The party believes that the voters still feel they owe their loyalty to the family. Riding on this belief, INLD is fielding the sitting MLA Sher Singh Barshami's wife, Smt Bachan Kaur, who is inexperienced but may still be able to gather votes based on earlier loyalties.

This will be an interesting contest between the two ladies and the outcome will also be a reflection on how the voters viewed Sher Singh's jail term.

While earlier it has been a two cornered contest between INLD and INC, this time around there is a completely new perspective in the state. That is the advent of the BJP at the centre and Shri Narendra Modi at the helm, as Prime Minister.

With the nation validating the Modi effect in the recent Lok Sabha elections, the state BJP cadres are enthused and looking to be the game changer in the forthcoming assembly election. The party realises that there is a strong anti-incumbency against the Hooda government that has served two consecutive terms and the mood of the people is that they now want a change for the better.

To the BJP's advantage is the fact that two of INLD's stalwarts are in jail and the party high command has been considerably weakened. The cadres have not had much to look forward to, though Om Prakash Chautala's grandson, Dushyant Singh Chautala, did manage a significant upset in the Lok Sabha elections, defeating Haryana Janhit Congress's (HJC) Kuldeep Bishnoi and becoming the youngest MP in India, at 25.

However, Dushyant is still young and has not had to opportunity to build his own support base in the state. Not enough to influence the state in a way that the party would have hoped. On the other hand, Abhay Singh Chautala, Om Prakash Chautala's other son, has been trying to hold fort in the state but he too lacks the charisma of the father held amongst the loyal party cadres.

Therefore, between INC's anti-incumbency and INLD's confused cadres, the BJP emerges as a fresh alternative riding on the back of an enthused cadre and national optimism.

For the Ladwa assembly seat, the BJP has chosen Dr Pawan Saini as their candidate. Dr Saini is a doctor by profession and is also the President of the state BJP Doctor Cell. Dr Saini completed his education from MDU, Rohtak and now lives in Kurukshetra. A popular and well respected citizen, he is also serving as President of the Gita Girls Senior Secondary School in Kurukshetra.

Between the scam ridden INC and the equally corrupt INLD, there is a political vacuum for clean politics and true people representation. This space is perfect for someone of Dr Saini's caliber and clean reputation, to step in and along with the total party support from enthused BJP cadres. There is a general sense of confidence and optimism that Dr Saini could well be the proverbial Dark Horse and end up upsetting the calculations of the two ladies in fray.

The fourth contestant hoping to make a mark will be Deep Saini, who is the HJC candidate. HJC has now become considerably weakened in the state on account of Kuldeep Bishnoi breaking its alliance with the BJP in the state, as also by losing his Lok Sabha seat to young Dushyant Singh Chautala, in the recently held elections.

Unfortunately, Kuldeep Bishnoi has taken a gamble that is pretty similar to the one taken by Nitish Kumar in Bihar, when he broke away from the BJP, believing in his inherent strength and popularity. The subsequent polls in Bihar proved otherwise and to Nitish Kumar's disadvantage. He is now in political wilderness trying to find his feet with confused alliances with the likes of Lalu Prasad Yadav of RJD.

With a weakened position in Haryana, the HJC has not only reduced its own chances but will also break up the votes that might have worked in favour of the BJP-HJC alliance. Going alone will only help INLD and INC, both of which are already trying to deal with their own confused cadres and are considerably weakened themselves.

October 15, is the day which will give voters of Ladwa the opportunity to exercise their right by voting for the candidate that they deem fit, in true tradition of a functioning democracy.

October 17, will reveal which way the voter swung. Either way, the winner will be Ladwa that will look forward to a new beginning, with renewed hope.

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