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Battle of legacies: Three influential Haryana families slug it out in Hisar

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By Jatin Takkar New Delhi, Apr 24 (PTI) Three most influential political dynasties of Haryana are slugging it out in Hisar this election season, making it a battle for asserting supremacy of their respective clans in the state politics. Dushyant Chautala, the great grandson of former Deputy Prime Minister Devi Lal, and sitting MP from Hisar, is pitted against next-generation leaders of two other powerful political families -- BJP's Bijendra Singh, son of Union Minister Birender Singh and great grandson of peasant leader Sir Chhotu Ram, and the Congress nominee Bhavya Bishnoi, grandson of former state Chief Minister Bhajan Lal. Dushyant, who contested on Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) ticket last time, is fighting under the banner of its off-shoot Jannayak Janata Party (JJP) this time. Bijendra and Bhavya are making their electoral debut. Before jumping into politics, Bijendra was an IAS officer while Bhavya was trying his luck in cricket. However, both Birender Singh (as a Congress leader in 1984) and Bhajan Lal (in 2009 as Haryana Janhit Congress candidate) have been MPs from Hisar in the past. Bhavya's father Kuldip Bishnoi had won an bypoll in 2011 after the former chief minister's death. Voting will take place in Hisar on May 12 along with nine other Lok Sabha seats of Haryana. Both Dushyant and Bijendra come from the state's politically dominant Jat community and political observers feel the aim for each of them was to present himself as Haryana's next leader. Bhavya, on the other hand, is trying to be a new face of the non-jat politics in the state, as it was his grandfather Bhajanlal who is credited with conceptualising the 'Jats vs non-Jats' politics in Haryana. Jats are estimated to comprise of around one-third of Hisar's nearly 15 lakh voters, while scheduled castes and backward classes together account for another one-third. While BJP has never won any parliamentary election from here, no other single party can claim a consistent stronghold on Hisar, which is just about three hours drive away from the national capital. Also, switching between parties as also creation and merger of political outfits have as such been kind of a common sight in Haryana. Another battle of political dynasties is brewing in Sonepat, which is less than two hours drive away from Delhi. Former chief minister and senior Congress leader Bhupender Singh Hooda is contesting against JJP's Digvijay Chautala, brother of Dushyant and another great grandson of Devi Lal, from Sonepat, which again has a sizeable Jat population. Bhupender Hooda's son and three-time MP from Rohtak Deepender Hooda is also in the fray again from the same seat. In Bhiwani, Congress has fielded Shruti Chaudhary, grand-daughter of former chief minister Bansi Lal, while in Ambala the party has nominated former union minister Kumar Selja, daughter of late Dalbir Singh, who was a four-time MP. PTI JTR BJ BJ

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