In post-independence Haryana, Jind has very well earned the tag of ‘the heartland of Haryana politics’. Jind and its surrounding areas have seen many high-pitched political battles, which have been marred by fights, killings, and shrewd politicking
The three battles of Panipat are well known of and well read about in different history books across various school boards and university curricula in India. However, in this already established view of the state of Haryana, one comfortably overlooks the other significant events and places that don the historiography of the region.
One such place is the old city of Jayantipura, which is famous for its concrete attachment with the Pandavas and the Mahabharata. It is believed that the Pandavas offered prayers at the Jayanti Devi temple before the battle with the Kauravas to defeat Adharma.
The modern city of Jind is the contemporary reworking of this ancient town. In post-independence Haryana, Jind has very well earned the tag of ‘the heartland of Haryana politics’. Jind and its surrounding areas have seen many high-pitched political battles, which have been marred by fights, killings, and shrewd politicking.
Like many other urban centers of the state of Haryana, the surrounding regions of the city are dominated by Jats, whereas the city is a mix of Jats among other castes including the Brahmins, Punjabis, Baniyas etc. The city now goes to poll again for a by-election scheduled on January 28.
Embroiled in a four-corner battle, the city is no less than a cantonment. Different factions of different political armies move around the small city, gathering as much support as they can. Money seems to flow with full force, trying hard to bring down with it everything: the agenda, the promises of development, prospects for the city and much more. It is not tough to find a big, swanky SUV with a small number plate and a shining 'Jannayak Janata Party' (JJP) logo; impressing or at other times, upsetting the local populace.
Before the final day of filing nominations on January 10, the word on the ground was a comfortable victory of the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP). However, the election has seemingly caught pace with Indian National Congress (INC) courting its national media spokesperson into the election fray. Randeep Surjewala is a sitting MP from the next-door district, Kaithal. Surjewala has been actively seeking the support of the entire citizenry by making emotional appeals. That seems fine on camera, but whether it does tingle the heart remains to be seen.
Chaudhary Birender Singh, the Union Minister of Steel made terse yet firm allegations on the Congress gameplay. In a public event few days ago he said, “The so-called grand old party failed to find and field a local candidate in Jind”. Vikas Saharan, whose name was on the top of the list, failed to make the final cut.
Commenting on the Congress's way of politics, he said, “So sad is the state of affairs in the Congress that the flustered Rahul Gandhi had to ask his national spokesperson to give a fight in the elections.’’
The other two political parties at play are the INLD (Indian National Lok Dal) and the JJP. Only a few months ago, Dushyant Chautala, the sitting Member of Parliament from the Hissar Lok Sabha constituency parted ways with his party INLD. Dushyant is the grandson of the INLD supremo, Om Prakash Chautala who is out on bail these days for the JBT scam.
In a Kautilyan move, he segregated himself from the INLD and established the JJP. This rift has caused significant damage to the Chautala stronghold. Not how Dushyant would have wanted the JJP seems to fall back last in the game, even after he fielded his younger brother, Digvijay into the Jind soup bowl.
Krishan Midha, the son of the deceased Jind MLA Dr Hari Chand Midha has so far been the frontrunner. The Midha family is quite popular locally; residents of the city for decades and have engaged in social service through the years. He has been banking on development and community service to sweep him through.
Evidently, Jind has lived up to its name as the heartland of Haryana politics yet again. Buoyed by a clean sweep in the civic body elections, the BJP is running strong. The failure to put up a good face to the opposition has seemingly made the way easy for the BJP. Politics, however, can turn any minute, the elections are just a few days away!
Last Updated Jan 24, 2019, 4:22 PM IST