Haryana Lok Sabha Election 2024: BJP's Jindal, AAP's Gupta Locked In Fierce Battle For Kurukshetra Seat

Haryana Lok Sabha Election 2024: BJP's Jindal, AAP's Gupta Locked In Fierce Battle For Kurukshetra Seat

Both Jindal and Gupta are from the Baniya community.

Rajesh MoudgilUpdated: Thursday, May 23, 2024, 09:35 AM IST
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Naveen Jindal, a former two-term Congress MP and a steel tycoon, who joined BJP about two months ago, faces a fierce fight in Haryana’'s Kurukshetra from the Haryana AAP chief and former Rajya Sabha member Sushil Gupta, a renowned businessman.

Of the Haryana’s total 10 seats, only Kurukshetra is contested by AAP as per a truck with Congress as INDIA bloc allies and has fielded its state president Sushil Gupta. Other nine seats are fought by Congress.

Notably, this constituency has been represented by leaders of Saini community six times and Congress’'s Jindal family thrice in the last 12 elections since 1977 when the seat was carved out from erstwhile Kaithal constituency.

Both Jindal and Gupta are from the Baniya community.

Top BJP leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home, Minister Amit Shah and party chief JP Nadda have campaigned for all BJP candidates, including Jindal, 54.

Congress leaders including party president Mallikarjun Kharge and AAP national convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, his Punjab counterpart Bhagwant Mann, have held rallies for AAP’s Gupta, 63. While INDIA bloc and INLD flay BJP over unemployment, inflation, farmers, drug menace among other issues, BJP highlights its vision document’’ and the initiatives and achievements of the Modi government at the Centre and good governance’’ of state’s BJP government.

KEEN CONTEST

The seat is being keenly watched as the former BJP MP Raj Kumar Saini, who hit the headlines when he spewed venom against the Jats during his stint as the lawmaker in 2014 and was expelled has extended support to Congress-AAP candidate Gupta.

In another twist, Abhay Chautala, a tall Jat leader of Indian National Lok Dal has also entered the fray making it a triangular fight. He has the support of Bharatiya Kisan Union (Charuni), a prominent farmer outfit. Jannayak Janta Party, a splinter group of INLD too has fielded a local leader Pala Ram, who is from Saini community.

As BJP is seen as a non-Jat party, these factors seem to have potential to cause a major dent into Gupta’s vote bank as Abhay Chautala would gather Jat votes for himself, Saini’s support to Congress-backed AAP’s Gupta will hamper Congress’s Jat votes to Gupta.

VOTE DIVIDE

Importantly, Baniya votes will see a divide as both Jindal and Gupta are Baniyas and even AAP convener Kejriwal himself is a Baniya. Furthermore, Jats and Sainis have a major voteshare in Kurukshetra Lok Sabha constituency followed by Schedule Caste, Baniyas, Brahmins and Punjabis.

Another factor which might help Jindal would be the recent BJP move to make Nayab Saini the chief minister replacing Manohar Lal Khattar, who is contesting from the Karnal Lok Sabha seat. BJP hopes to muster sizeable Saini votes.

The Kurukshetra Lok Sabha seat has nine assembly segments Radaur, Ladwa, Shahbad (SC), Thanesar, Pehowa, Guhla (SC) Kalayat, Kaithal and Pundri. BJP has its legislators in four assembly seats, JJP and Congress have two each. One seat has an independent MLA.

NAVEEN JINDAL

A billionaire industrialist and a philanthropist, Naveen Jindal was a Congress MP in 2004 and 2009. He was defeated by Raj Kumar Saini during the 2014 Modi wave. The Jindal Steel and Power Ltd chairman has a few corruption and money laundering cases registered against him or his companies by CBI and ED. His father OP Jindal, also a Congress leader, died in a chopper crash when he was Haryana power minister. Naveen’s mother Savitri Jindal was a minister in the Bhupinder Singh Hooda’s govt.

SUSHIL GUPTA

Sushil Gupta, a businessman and owner of various schools in and around Delhi, is also a philanthropist. He was the AAP Rajya Sabha member from 2018. He is the president of the Haryana AAP. Gupta is known for his contribution in the field of education and healthcare and association with several charitable organisations running educational institutes and hospitals in the national capital and Haryana. He was born at Shamlo Kalan in Jind and had been associated with Congress before joining AAP.

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