Hisar: Eight Kuldeeps and a battle of two political dynasties have set the stage for an interesting electoral contest in the Hisar parliamentary seat.
Stakes are high for sitting MP Kuldeep Bishnoi, projected as the leader of the Haryana Janhit Congress-BJP combine, as a loss here may have a bearing on him and his party HJC`s future.
Hisar, where the highest number of 41 candidates are in the fray out of the 10 seats in Haryana, will see 45-year-old Bishnoi take on seven namesakes who share his first name. Six of these candidates are Independents.
This seat has also become a prestige issue for the two prominent political families of the state -- the famous `Lals` -- as scions of Bhajan Lal and Devi Lal are up against each other.
Bishnoi, the younger son of late Chief Minister Bhajan Lal, is pitted against a fourth generation member of the Devi Lal family, Dushyant Chautala (Indian National Lok Dal), besides Congress` Sampat Singh, MLA from Nalwa segment, and AAP`s Yudhbir Singh Khyalia, the bureaucrat-turned-politician.
Phool Singh Sheokand (CPM) and Mange Ram Verma (BSP) are also in the fray.
Criss-crossing his constituency in a hectic campaign schedule, Bishnoi tries to woo voters in the name of his father`s legacy and the work he has done as MP and asks them to strengthen the hands of the NDA to enable Narendra Modi become the country`s next prime minister.
A few months before Lok Sabha polls were announced, Bishnoi had undertaken a two-month long Vijay Abhiyaan Rath Yatra covering all 90 Assembly segments in the state.
"In whatever short time I got (from 2011), I have tried to raise the voice of my people inside as well as outside Parliament. I have been speaking against the regional bias in development which is limited just to the Rohtak region while other parts of the state have been overlooked by the Hooda government," Bishnoi said.
He says his USP is clean record and commitment towards serving the people and carrying forward the dreams of his late father.
Bhajan Lal had along with Bishnoi founded the HJC (BL) in December 2007 after Congress elevated Bhupinder Singh Hooda as the chief minister in 2005.
HJC contested the 2009 Haryana Assembly polls on its own and won six seats. However, days later, five of its legislators joined Congress, which had managed to win 40 seats in the 90-member House.
Bishnoi had won from Adampur segment here. Later in 2011, he won the Hisar Lok Sabha by-election, following the death of his father, who was representing the parliamentary constituency at that time. Bishnoi defeated his nearest rival and heavyweight Ajay Singh Chautala of INLD.
Last year, he announced his party`s support for Modi.
Bishnoi, who has also remained a two-time MLA from Adampur in Hisar and earlier a Congress MP from Bhiwani, says he believes in taking all sections along and even though he is a non-Jat, he will always endeavour to work for the welfare of all, irrespective of the community he or she belongs to.
Haryana Assembly polls are due in October and the HJC-BJP alliance has said that Bishnoi would be its chief ministerial candidate.
The 26-year-old Dushyant Chautala is seeking votes on basis of work carried out by the erstwhile INLD regime. During his election meetings, he tries to convince voters that his grandfather Om Prakash Chautala and father Ajay Singh Chautala have not done any wrong by giving jobs. Both are serving jail sentence in a teachers` recruitment scam in the state under the INLD regime over 14 years ago.
Sampat Singh (63), who switched over to Congress four years ago from INLD, is seeking votes on the basis of development work carried out by the Hooda government.
AAP`s 59-year-old Khyalia, who took voluntary retirement recently from the post of Hisar Divisional Commissioner, says that he took the plunge into politics as it can effectively weed out corruption.
"I tried my level best to clean up the system as an administrator, but found that politics was a better platform," he says.
Issues like power, drinking water, crime, corruption, sewerage, development, unemployment and basic amenities are taken up by opposition candidates during their campaigning.
For Bishnoi, his MLA wife Renuka Bishnoi and sister Roshni Devi have formed women`s groups to contact women voters door to door and address corner meetings in the constituency.
Hisar Lok Sabha constituency is the smallest constituency in Haryana, though it is spread over an entire district and parts of Bhiwani and Jind districts.
The constituency has a total 15,17,606 voters out of which 8,26,810 are men and 6,90,796 women.