Karela Fry

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Hisar: not a referendum on corruption

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12 October, 2011

NDTV reports on the by-elections in Hissar tomorrow:

The Lok Sabha by-election in Hisar to be held on Thursday has evoked nationwide interest due to the campaign by Anna Hazare and his team to defeat the Congress and a triangular fight among the leading political players of Haryana.

The contest is primarily between the Congress, the opposition Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) and the Haryana Janhit Congress-Bharatiya Janata Party combine.

The election is crucial for Kuldeep Bishnoi of the HJC who has staked claim to political legacy of his father, former chief minister Bhajan Lal. Bishnoi’s party tied up with the BJP ahead of the election to boost his prospects. The seat fell vacant due to demise of Bhajan Lal in June this year.

The INLD, which is the main opposition party of the state, has fielded former MP Ajay Chautala, son of party supremo Om Prakash Chautala. The party has lost two successive assembly polls in the state and could not secure a single seat in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections. The party is keen to have its presence at least now in the present Lok Sabha.

The Congress has fielded former MP Jai Prakash and its poll effort has been led by Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda. Party sources said Hooda extensively campaigned in the constituency for over 10 days to boost the prospects of the party candidate.

Local issues like water, electricity, unemployment and fertiliser prices have taken a backseat in the poll with Team Anna’s campaign against corruption and price-rise coming to the fore.

Arvind Kejriwal and some other members of Team Anna addressed a series of meetings in Hisar, urging voters not to support the Congress so that it is forced to pass the Jan Lokpal bill in the winter session of parliament.

This may not have been the best constituency for Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption movement to take up a call against the Congress, as this report from DNA argues:

The three main contenders for the Hisar Lok Sabha by-polls have accumulated large properties in the last two years, according to figures compiled by a think tank and Election Watch.

According to figures compiled by Association for Democratic Reforms and Election Watch, the three main contestants for the poll, Kuldeep Bishnoi of Haryana Janhit Congress, Ajay Singh Chautala of Indian National Lokdal and Jai Parkash of Congress have all shown increase worth crores of rupees in their property since the last election in 2009.

The highest increase of nearly 182 percent has been registered in the assets of Bishnoi, son of former chief minister Bhajan Lal. Bhajan Lal was the MP from this seat until his death on June 3 this year, after which the polls were announced.

His property in 2009 was around Rs17 crore, which increased to over Rs48 crore in 2011, registering an increase of more than Rs31 crore. Bishnoi also has one criminal case pending against him.

The HJC party has recently formed an alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party and is among the strong contenders for the post.

INLD contestant Ajay Singh Chautala had assets worth nearly Rs30 crore in 2009, which has registered an increase of Rs10 crore now. He also has two criminal cases pending against him.

Congress contestant Jai Parkash has no criminal record against him. His property has registered a massive increase of 383 percent.

In 2009, Parkash had assets worth only around Rs65 lakh, whereas in 2011 he has declared his assets to be around Rs3 crore.

13 October, 2011

HT reports:

The polling process was peacefully completed at 5pm in the crucial Hisar Lok Sabha by-election in Haryana Thursday where Team Anna has asked people not to vote for the Congress. Over 70% voting was expected, said officials.

“At 4 pm, it was 62% and maximum number of voters come out during the last hour of voting. It was 69.3% during 2009 by-election,” said chief electoral officer Sumita Misra, while talking to reporters.

Counting of votes will take place Oct 17.

Meanwhile, India Today reported:

Team Anna’s aggressive campaign against the Congress in the Hisar by-election is tilting the scales in favour of two very wealthy candidates facing a host of criminal charges.

Both candidates are from controversial political dynasties opposed to the Congress party. Kuldeep Bishnoi is from the late Bhajan Lal’s Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC). Ajay Singh Chautala is from Om Prakash Chautala’s Indian National Lok Dal (INLD).

By contrast, Congress candidate Jai Prakash has no criminal cases against him but will not be a winner – an unfortunate consequence of the hype surrounding the by-election.

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