In Hisar, roadroller almost crushed Bishnoi’s tractor

By Jaideep Sarin,IANS,

Chandigarh : It was never meant to be a road accident but the political collision of a tractor with a roadroller nearly cost the winning candidate in the Hisar Lok Sabha by-election, Kuldeep Bishnoi, his seat last month.

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Bishnoi finally triumphed last month on the seat in a closely contested election by just 6,323 votes against his nearest rival, Ajay Singh Chautala of the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD). But Bishnoi’s Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC) wrote to the Election Commission of India pointing out that similar looking election symbols should not be allotted to two candidates in the same election.

The communication to the Election Commission from the HJC had pointed out that Bishnoi’s election symbol – a tractor – and the roadroller election symbol of another candidate, Om Prakash Kalyan, of a newly registered political party, led to confusion among voters.

Following this the Election Commission Saturday ordered the deletion of the roadroller from the list of symbols for contesting candidates.

Haryana chief electoral officer Sumita Mishra said the poll panel had issued a notification that the roadroller symbol be deleted from the list of free symbols.

Bishnoi had pointed out that the candidate, Kalyan, who had the roadroller symbol, polled over 27,800 votes. He emerged in the fourth place among all 40 candidates in the fray, just behind the losing Congress candidate, Jai Prakash.

“The HJC has recently written to the Election Commission asking it not to allot similar looking election symbols to contesting candidates. In our case the tractor symbol and the roadroller led to confusion in the minds of voters,” Bishnoi said here.

“The candidate of the newly registered political party polled over 27,000 votes. This was surprising,” he said.

HJC leaders claim confusion over the symbol almost cost Bishnoi the crucial Hisar seat.

While Bishnoi, who contested the election as the HJC-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate, polled 355,941 votes. Chautala followed closely with 349,618 votes.

In a major embarrassment to the ruling Congress in the state, its candidate managed to get only 149,784 votes and even forfeited his security deposit. This, despite Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and his MP son Deepinder Hooda camping in the Hisar constituency for over 15 days to campaign for the Congress candidate.

The HJC-BJP combine is now readying itself for the by-elections to the two assembly seats of Adampur and Ratia (reserved) to be held Nov 30.

Bishnoi has announced his wife Renuka Bishnoi’s name as the candidate for the Adampur seat, a traditional stronghold of his father Bhajan Lal’s family. The Adampur assembly seat has remained with the family since 1968 with Bhajan Lal winning it eight times and his wife, Jasma Devi, and son Kuldeep Bishnoi winning it once each.

The seat fell vacant last month after Bishnoi resigned from it after being elected to the Lok Sabha.

For the Ratia seat, the BJP has announced Mahavir Prasad as the HJC-BJP candidate.

(Jaideep Sarin can be contacted at [email protected])