"In Haryana, the BJP has traditionally not had an established base. The results of this Lok Sabha polls have given a new confidence to BJP leaders in the state that borders Delhi."
By Jaideep Sarin

Chandigarh, May 21 - Fielding turncoats from other parties at the last minute in the Lok Sabha elections in Haryana proved beneficial for the BJP. Riding on a pro-Modi wave, these turncoat leaders have won four of the seven seats the Bharatiya Janata Party bagged in the state.

Unable to find suitable leaders from its own ranks in the state, the BJP had to rely on leaders from other parties to switch over before the April 10 Lok Sabha polls to field candidates for all the seats it contested.

Former union minister Rao Inderjit Singh, who joined the BJP this year, won from Gurgaon. He won by nearly 275,000 votes over his nearest rival of the Indian National Lok Dal. The ruling Congress nominee and the Aam Aadmi Party's Yogendra Yadav were also in the fray.

Inderjit Singh, a prominent Ahir community leader in the Gurgaon belt, which is known as a land and property goldmine, was elected the Congress MP from Gurgaon in the 2009 general elections. He had differences with Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda.

At least two other leaders who quit the Congress and joined the BJP on the eve of the elections, Dharambir Singh and Ramesh Kaushik, were fielded by it. They won from Bhiwani-Mahendergarh and Sonipat respectively.

Dharambir Singh, who was the chief parliamentary secretary in the Congress-led Hooda government till March had quit the government and also the assembly.

Another turncoat fielded by the BJP, Raj Kumar Saini, won from Kurukshetra by nearly 130,000 votes over the INLD.

Outgoing MP and billionaire-industrialist Naveen Jindal finished a poor third on this seat. Saini was a minister in the Haryana Vikas Party (HVP) government headed by Bansi Lal (1996-99).

The BJP, which contested eight out of Haryana's 10 Lok Sabha seats (its ally Haryana Janhit Congress contested two) won seven seats. Its candidate Om Prakash Dhankar lost in Rohtak. The HJC lost both Hisar and Sirsa.

The Rohtak seat went to Deepender Hooda, son of the chief minister. It is the only seat the Congress won this time. In 2009, the Congress had won nine seats.

In Karnal, BJP's Ashwini Chopra Minna, owner of the Punjab Kesri media group, won by over 360,000 votes in his first foray into politics.

From its own ranks, BJP candidate Krishan Pal Gurjar won from Faridabad by over 466,000 votes. Another BJP veteran, Rattan Lal Kataria, won from Ambala, a reserved seat, by over 340,000 votes.

In Haryana, the BJP has traditionally not had an established base. The results of this Lok Sabha polls have given a new confidence to BJP leaders in the state that borders Delhi.

(Jaideep Sarin can be contacted at [email protected])


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