Karnal LS Seat likely to witness direct contest between BJP's Khattar and Congress’ Budhiraja

|
  • 0

Karnal LS Seat likely to witness direct contest between BJP's Khattar and Congress’ Budhiraja

Wednesday, 15 May 2024 | MANOJ KUMAR

Karnal, which is named after the famous king Karna of Mahabharata and also known as Karna Nagri is all set to witness a direct contest between an experienced and seasoned politician cum-strategist and former Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and Haryana Youth Congress president Divyanshu Budhiraja. The Polling in the State will be held in the sixth phase on May 25.

Senior BJP leader Khattar was elected twice as MLA from Karnal Assembly segment in 2014 and 2019 and now he has been fielded by the party for the Lok Sabha seat. A heavy-weight candidate and a Punjabi face in this constituency, KHattar replaced sitting BJP MP Sanjay Bhatia, who defeated Congress’ Kuldeep Sharma by over 6.5 lakh votes in 2019. Bhatia, who secured 70 per cent votes, was the second among the MPs with highest winning margins. With the entry of former Chief Minister Khattar into the poll fray, this Parliamentary constituency has turned into a political hotspot in the State.

Being a former CM, Khattar has to go around across the state and sometimes out of it for campaigning, which is another challenge, even as he had not even campaigned during assembly elections. Besides maintaining the winning spree while dealing with the strong undercurrent of anti-incumbency, Khattar has the tough task of maintaining the winning margin set by Sanjay Bhatia in 2019 polls.

Earlier, this seat was considered as Brahmin seat, but for the past two consecutive times, Punjabi face has won from here. Knowing this fact, the Congress party has pitted its youngest candidate 31- year -old Divyanshu Budhiraja, a Punjabi-Khatri and former head of the party's youth wing in Haryana, to take on about 70- year- old Khattar. Hailing from Gohana in Sonipat district, Budhiraja, a student leader and a close aide of two-time Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and his MP son, Deepender Hooda, was known for taking on the Khattar government on unemployment and paper leak scams in the Haryana Public Service Commission and the Staff Selection Commission.

In one of his public meetings, Congress candidate Budhiraja said that the people of Haryana will seek from Khattar an account of his nine-and-a-half-year tenure as the chief minister of the state. Unemployment is the "biggest" challenge facing the state. "Seven years ago when I confronted (the then CM) Khattar on questions of unemployment, I was sent to jail for three days. I had raised questions about unemployed youth," he had added.

The other candidates in the fray from Karnal Lok Sabha Constituency are NCP (Sharad Pawar) state unit chief Virender Verma; Jannayak Janata Party’s (JJP) Devender Kadyan, son of former Assembly Speaker and three-time legislator Satbir Kadian; and BSP’s Inderjeet Jalmana. A native of Panipat, Kadian is Dushyant’s brother-in-law. During nomination, BSP candidate Jalmana was accompanied by farmer leader Gurnam Singh Charuni, who extended his union’s support to Inderjeet after addressing a public meeting.

While talking to reporters, Charuni recently clarified that the support to the BSP’s candidate is only for Karnal and not for other seats.

Verma, a candidate of NCP (Sharad Pawar), part of the INDIA bloc at the national level, has been extended support by the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD). He fought his first Lok Sabha elections on a BSP ticket in 2009. Karnal Lok Sabha Constituency has a total of 19 candidates, two of whom are women.

The BJP has been winning this seat since 2014, with Ashwani Chopra having got 49.96% of votes that had gone up to 70.08% votes for Sanjay Bhatia in 2019.

Introduction of e-tendering for development works in rural areas and the right to recall acts in panchayats by BJP led Government in Haryana, farmers’ agitation 1 and 2.0, Agniveer scheme, local anti-incumbency due to issues that rural folk had to face because of Parivar Pehchan Patra’s discrepancies, Development of Karnal Aviation Club as domestic airport; Establishing a pharma hub in Karnal; Stoppage of key trains; Development under NCR plan; Shifting of toll plazas; Karnal-Yamunanagar railway lines; Development of junction at Karnal railway station among others are factors that might impact the voting pattern in the Karnal Lok Sabha Constituency.

Karnal shares its borders with five other Lok Sabha constituencies-Kurukshetra, Hisar, Sonipat of Haryana; Kairana and Baghpat of Uttar Pradesh. The Karnal parliamentary seat comprises nine Assembly segments -- Karnal, Nilokheri, Indri, Assandh and Gharaunda in Karnal district, and Panipat City, Panipat Rural, Israna, and Samalkha in Panipat district.

According to statistics, the Congress had dominated this seat by winning 11 times out of 18 elections held so far since 1952, while the BJP had won four times, Janata party for two times and Bhartiya Jan Sangh for one time. This seat also witnessed a victory by a thin margin and a victory with the second highest margin in the country. During 1967 elections, Congress candidate Madho Ram Sharma won the elections with a margin of 203 votes, while in 2019 BJP candidate Sanjay Bhatia won with the second highest margin of the country of nearly 6.56 lakh votes.

Former CM Bhajan Lal had contested twice from here in 1998 and 1999. He had won the elections in 1998, but had lost in 1999 from BJP leader ID Swami. Similarly, Pandit Chiranji Lal secured victory by defeating veteran BJP leader Sushma Swaraj in 1980 and 1989, establishing his stronghold in the constituency. A byelection in 1978 witnessed the triumph of the Janata Party’s Mahinder Singh against Chiranji Lal. However, the tide turned in 1980 when Chiranji Lal of the Congress won the seat, commencing a streak of four consecutive wins against formidable opponents.

The Karnal Lok Sabha constituency, which comprises Karnal and Panipat districts, has witnessed a surge in voter enrolment, with 2,25,840 new voters added to the voter list in the past five years. According to the data from the Election Commission, there were 18,55,720 registered voters during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, a number that has now increased to 20,81,560 voters as on March 16. In 2024, the number of men voters has risen to 10,95,941, and women voters to 9,85,582. Currently, there are 37 transgender individuals on the voter list.


Khattar not only has to ensure the victory of his 'protege' and successor CM Nayab Saini in the bypoll, but also win his maiden Lok Sabha battle to script BJP's hat-trick in Karnal, which is spread over nine Assembly segments. Congress candidate Budhiraja is depending upon cadre votes, Hoodas’ influence, anti-incumbency votes and shift of votes due to resentment among rural folk amid the farmer issues/protests.

Sunday Edition

Canvas of Change | Transforming Education with Creativity

19 May 2024 | Aditi Sharma | Agenda

Transformative Power of Printmaking

19 May 2024 | SAKSHI PRIYA | Agenda

Laapataa Ladies Shines Bright

19 May 2024 | SAKSHI PRIYA | Agenda

Brett Lee bats for Australian Avocados

19 May 2024 | Gyaneshwar Dayal | Agenda

The real face of BBC’s news coverage

19 May 2024 | kumar chellppan | Agenda

Astroturf | Watch and correct thought trends

19 May 2024 | Bharat Bhushan Padmadeo | Agenda