Kuldeep Bishnoi may not be a big loss for Congress, but could be a big win for the BJP

New Delhi: Instead of being able to create a next generation of leaders in Haryana, the Congress has been losing young party leaders at a rapid pace. While a few years ago former Party State Unity Chairman Ashok Tanwar left over disputes with former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, a similar scenario has now unfolded. with the son of former Chief Minister Bhajan Lal, Kuldeep Bishnoi.

Bishnoi, who was eyeing the post of state chairman, was upset when the party ignored his candidacy in April this year and chose hooda loyalist Udai Bhan instead. Over the past 2.5 months, Bishnoi, 53, has walked away from Congress. He voted against Rajya Sabha party candidate Ajay Maken and was later removed from office by the party from all key positions.

Bishnoi revealed his future political ambitions when he met with BJP National Chairman JP Nadda and Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday.

Is Bishnoi ready to join the BJP?

It is now speculated that Bishnoi could step down from his Adampur seat and join the Saffron Party. This would be a blow to the Congress since Bishnoi wields considerable influence over his community members, who form an important electoral base in central and western Haryana. Apart from that, Bishnoi is also considered a strong non-Jat leader in this belt.

The Jats, who constitute almost 30% of the population of Haryana, being the largest and most politically dominant group in the state, a significant group of leaders has emerged over the years and enjoys the support of other major sections like the Dalits, Vaishyas, Bishnois and members of various smaller sects.

Adampur, which Bishnoi represents, has been a pocket borough of his family for more than 50 years. While Bhajan Lal won this seat nine times, Bishnoi won it three times and two of the female family members once each. In this constituency, around 15% of voters are from the Bishnoi sect – but over the years other communities have rallied around the family.

However, over the years, Congress has increasingly turned to Hooda, who it says remains its most powerful leader in the state. In fact, former Chief Minister and former Union Minister Bhajan Lal had also split from the party in 2005 and launched Congress Haryana Janhit (Bhajan Lal) after Congress decided to make Hooda the Minister. in chief instead of Lal after a resounding victory in the assembly elections.

Bishnoi had formed his own HJC in 2007 and maintained it until 2016, when he merged it with Congress. Although joining the party strengthened him and after Tanwar’s exit he was seen as a young face who could revive the party’s fortunes, which gave way to the BJP, Bishnoi was not able to impress the central leadership enough to be handed over to the party. reins as is.

Congress passed over Bishnoi for the post of head of state

When Bishnoi was not named state president in April this year, senior congressman and former MP Randeep Singh Surjewala expressed his displeasure saying, “Kuldeep Bishnoi would have been the best president in state unit”. He probably felt this would only antagonize Bishnoi, who had worked hard to galvanize the party against the BJP-JJP alliance.

Bishnoi also tweeted that he was “very angry”. He had reason to feel discouraged. While the party had welcomed leaders from various other factions into the state unity rejig, it had given no position to a leader from the Bishnoi camp.

Bishnoi however initially did not display his anger and said he would “ask Rahul (Gandhi) ji for an answer” before taking another step. But he was bubbling inside and his actions were clearer than his words.

In the Rajya Sabha elections last month, Bishnoi voted against party candidate Ajay Maken. This is one of the reasons that led to the victory of the independent candidate supported by the BJP, Kartikeya Sharma, in the elections. Another reason for the defeat is that the vote of an MP from another party was declared invalid. This shocked Congress, as due to his strength in the assembly he was assured of one of two seats.

Bishnoi later tweeted, “I know how to crush a snake’s hood. I don’t leave the jungle for fear of snakes.

Congress retaliated, expelling him from all party positions. This prompted another scathing response from Bishnoi, who tweeted: “Congress also has rules for some leaders and exceptions for others. Rules are applied selectively. Indiscipline has been ignored many times in the past. In my case, I listened to my soul and acted according to my morals.

He also hit out at the party for repeatedly supporting Hooda, saying, “I don’t need anyone’s certificate. These are the people who gave me a certificate and they elected me with a wide margin even when Congress was in opposition in the 2019 election.”

Bishnoi crucial to BJP’s future Lok Sabha, assembly poll plans

Now, openly declaring that it was a “true honor and pleasure to meet Amit Shah” and calling him a “true statesman”, Bishnoi has made known his intentions to move closer to the BJP. He also praised Nadda and said his “easy-going and humble nature sets him apart”.

Congress’s loss may well turn out to be the BJP’s gain here. The Saffron Party has struggled to maintain its grip on rural Haryana since protests erupted in the state against new agricultural laws, which have since been repealed. The turmoil around the Agnipath military recruiting program has also hurt his prospects.

Although the BJP and JJP have performed well in recent polls by civic bodies, it cannot rely on the outcome of these elections, which have a more local flavor, to indicate a revival of its fortunes. Moreover, the party, which won all seats in Haryana in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, knows that a similar result will also be needed in 2024 if the Modi government hopes to return to power.

Having cultivated Bishnoi, the BJP will now seek to nurture it to fulfill its new ambitions in the state. The Bishnoi community also has a significant presence in Rajasthan which goes to the polls in 2023 and here again the BJP would like to secure the services of Kuldeep Bishnoi.

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