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Campaigning ends in Haryana, two Union ministers in fray

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: May 10, 2019  | 18:33 IST

Chandigarh, May 10 (PTI) Campaigning ended Friday evening in the 10 Lok Sabha constituencies in Haryana, where two Union ministers are seeking re-election and a former chief minister, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, is trying to make it to the Lower House. The high-voltage electioneering for the May 12 polls saw the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress field a galaxy of stars. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah campaigned in the state even on the last day of electioneering. Modi addressed a rally in Rohtak, considered a stronghold of the Hooda family, where he brought up the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. Union ministers Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj and Nitin Gadkari have also visited the state where voting will take place over all seats in a single phase. Actor-turned-politician Hema Malini too dropped in for the BJP. For the Congress, party president Rahul Gandhi, general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Uttar Pradesh Congress chief Raj Babbar and Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu pitched in. Delhi chief minister and Aam Aadmi Party convenor Arvind Kejriwal campaigned for the Jannayak Janata Party-AAP alliance candidates while Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati sought votes for her party and its ally Loktantra Suraksha Party. The JJP is contesting seven seats and the AAP three. The BSP is fighting on eight, leaving two for its ally LSP. Indian National Lok Dal, going through a rough patch after the party split last year due to a feud in the Chautala family which led to birth of JJP, is contesting all 10 seats. Among the prominent BJP candidates in the fray are Union ministers Rao Inderjit Singh, who is seeking re-election from Gurgaon, and Krishan Pal Gurjar, who is fighting to represent Faridabad again. Union minister Birender Singh's son Brijendra Singh (BJP) and former chief minister Bhajan Lal's grandson Bhavya Bishnoi (Congress), both political greenhorns, are contesting from the Hisar Lok Sabha seat. They face Dushyant Chautala, the sitting MP and leader of the newly floated JJP. The opposition Congress has fielded its stalwarts on several seats. Bhupinder Hooda, who is a sitting MLA from Garhi Sampla-Kiloi in Rohtak district, has entered the fray from Sonipat. Former Union minister Kumari Selja and state Congress chief Ashok Tanwar are fighting from Ambala and Sirsa, respectively, for the party. In the 2014 parliamentary polls, the BJP contested eight seats and won seven. Its then ally Haryana Janhit Congress had then fought on two seats, losing both. The INLD won two seats and the Congress bagged one last time. The Congress has re-nominated its Rohtak sitting MP Deepender Singh Hooda, son of Bhupinder Singh Hooda. The BJP has retained five of its seven sitting MPs. It replaced its Karnal MP Ashwini Chopra with Sanjay Bhatia. In Kurukshetra, the ruling party nominated Haryana minister Nayab Singh Saini after the party's sitting MP from there Raj Kumar Saini turned rebel and floated his own outfit LSP. The campaign saw some barbs exchanged between the Congress and the BJP. In Bhiwani, Rahul Gandhi termed Narendra Modi a "boxer" who had entered the ring to fight unemployment and other issues but ended up punching his "coach", the veteran BJP leader L K Advani. The Congress targeted the BJP government at the Centre over “failed” promises and the Rafale aircraft deal, in which it alleged corruption. Modi talked about the alleged land scams when the Congress was in power and said the party has been reaping a “crop of corruption” in the state. At his Kurukshetra rally, Modi listed a series of "abuses" hurled at him by the Congress from what he called is that party's "love dictionary". Modi and other BJP leaders also raised the issue of national security, mentioning the Balakot air strike against Pakistan. More recently, it brought up the 1984-anti-Sikh riots. The violent quota agitation in 2016 also figured, triggering a fresh war of words between the state BJP and the Congress leaders. Over 1.80 crore people are eligible to vote in the state. Of them, 97,16,516 are male, 83,40,173 female and 207 transgender. Altogether, 223 candidates are in the fray. Just 11 of them are women. PTI SUN VSD ASH ASH

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