The 2019 Haryana polls were by no means a pitched battle, what with the opposition parties battling infighting more than any other issue.
Here are some of the key candidates of the polls.
Manohar Lal Khattar: The Haryana chief minister is seeking re-election from Karnal. He is being challenged by Tarlochan Singh of Congress.
All eyes would, however, be on Tej Bahadur Yadav of Jannayak Janata Party. He is the former Border Security Force jawan who shot into limelight after he uploaded a video on social media about poor quality food being served to personnel in the force. Yadav was subsequently sacked from the para-military forces. The seat also has nine other contestants.
Bhupinder Singh Hooda: Two-term former chief minister and leader of Congress Legislative Party, Hooda is looking to retain his seat from Garhi Sampla Kiloi in Rohtak district. He is facing a direct fight against another Jat leader, Satish Nandal. Though Nandal, as an INLD candidate, had lost by big margins to Hooda in the 2009 and 2014 polls, this time he is contesting as a BJP candidate.
Dushyant Chautala: Former Lok Sabha MP from Hisar and now leader of JJP, Chautala is once again trying to get elected to the Haryana assembly from Uchana Kalan in Hisar.
He is taking on MLA and BJP candidate Prem Lata, who is wife of Union minister and Hooda’s first cousin, Birender Singh. Lata had defeated Dushyant in the 2014 Assembly election and her son, Bijender, defeated him in the 2019 Lok Sabha election from Hisar.
Abhay Singh Chautala: The president of INLD, Abhay Chautala is seeking re-election from Ellenabad in Sirsa district. He is facing Pawan Beniwal of BJP who came second last time. This time Beniwal is hoping that JJP candidate O.P. Sihag would split the Jat votes.
Along with Hooda’s Garhi Sampla Kiloi, Ellenabad is the seat where BJP has concentrated efforts to defeat a leading politician. Khattar proclaimed several times that the world will remember the battle for these two seats.
Randeep Singh Surjewala: Former Congress MP and spokesperson, Randeep Singh Surjewala, is contesting from Kaithal. He is facing Anil Kumar of INLD, Leela Ram of BJP and Madan Tanwar of BSP. Surjewala had won this seat in 2009 and 2014. Prior to that in 2005, it was won by his father, Shamsher Singh. In all the three elections, INLD’s Kailash Bhagat was the runner up.
Kiran Chaudhary: Former Congress Legislative Party leader Kiran Choudhary, who is also daughter-in-law of former CM Bansi Lal, is seeking her third straight term from Tosham, which is a family pocket borough. The seat was won by her late husband Surender Singh twice and by Bansi Lal six times. This time, she is facing Shashiranjan Parmar of BJP and Sitaram Singhal of JJP.
Kuldeep Bishnoi: Son of former chief minister Bhajan Lal, Kuldeep Bishnoi is contesting as a Congress candidate from the family pocket borough of Adampur. Ever since Lal won the seat in 1968, the family has never lost it. Kuldeep is the sitting MLA from here. He won it in 2014 as a candidate of Haryana Janhit Congress (Bhajan Lal), a party his father floated after he left the Congress in 2005 when it chose to make Bhupinder Singh Hooda the chief minister.
BJP has fielded national vice president of its women’s wing and TikTok star Sonali Phogat opposite him. Phogat was in the news for asking some girl students “Are you Pakistani?” when they asked her questions about a girls’ college.
The JJP candidate is Ramesh Godara, who began his political career under Lok Dal leader and former deputy Prime Minister Devi Lal way back in 1982.
Subhash Barala: Haryana BJP president and Jat leader Subhash Barala is seeking re-election from Tohana in Sirsa. He is facing a tough fight from JJP candidate Devender Singh, who came third in the 2014 elections from the constituency. With former INLD candidate, Nishan Singh, who came second then and later became president of JJP, and Devender being in the same party now, the contest has become quite keen.
Four time former MLA and former Haryana minister Paramvir Singh of Congress has again been fielded by the party.
An interesting aspect would be how Dera Sacha Sauda followers – who number over 25,000 in the constituency – will vote this time. In 2014 they had openly supported BJP. But this time they are absent as polling agents of the party.
Other seats of interest would be those from where some Haryana ministers are in the fray – namely Anil Vij (Ambala Cantonment), Captain Abhimanyu (Narnaund), Ram Bilas Sharma (Mahendragarh), O.P. Dhankar (Badli) and Kavita Jain (Sonipat).
National level sportspersons
Babita Phogat: Wrestler Babita Phogat has been fielded by BJP from Charkhi Dadri. The two-time Commonwealth Games gold medalist is facing off against two-time MLA Satpal Sangwan, who was earlier in the Congress and is now contesting as a JJP candidate.
The other key contestants are a former BJP leader Somvir Sangwan and Congress candidate Major Nirpender Sangwan.
Yogeshwar Dutt: The wrestler, who won a bronze in the 2012 London Olympics, is the BJP candidate from Baroda. He joined the party as late as September 26.
In the 2014 elections, the seat was won by Sri Krishan Hooda of the Congress. He had defeated INLD candidate Dr. Kapoor Singh Narwal by 5,183 votes.
Hooda is once again the Congress candidate while INLD has fielded Jogendra Malik. Also expected to throw a strong challenge is Naresh from Bahujan Samaj Party.
Sandeep Singh: Former Indian hockey captain Sandeep Singh had also joined BJP on September 26 and was subsequently given the ticket from the Jat-Sikh dominated Pehowa constituency in Kurukshetra by the party.
In 2014, the seat was won by INLD’s Jaswinder Singh, who passed away earlier this year. Prior to that, Sardar Harmohinder Singh Chattha won the seat twice in 2005 and 2009.
This time, Congress has fielded Mandeep Singh Chattha while the INLD candidate from the constituency dominated by Jat Sikhs is Manjit Singh. The BSP candidate is Onkar Singh.