Assembly Elections: Will The Fragmented Political Dynasties Pave The Way For BJP In Haryana?

Whenever I used to hear about Haryana, a picture of a pehlwan and an akhada would hit my mind. But when I started studying politics, the image got transformed into a collage of the three Lals of Haryana, and Bhupinder Singh Hooda was a later addition to it. It is so because for the past 46 years (from 1952 to 2014), the state has been ruled by either these three or their dynasty ascenders. (Keeping aside the very short tenure of Hukam Singh and Banarsi Das Gupta). But in 2014, the history got a twist with the thumping majority of BJP in the state under the Modi wave, and RSS Pracharak Manohar Lal Khattar was sworn in as the first BJP Chief Minister.

The state is going to polls on the October 21 to elect members for its legislative assembly. On the one side, the BJP is going on the ground with their “Abki Baar 75 Paar” or the “Mission 75” slogan—as the party calls it. On the other side, the dynasties in opposition are still doing their bits to tie the flocks together. The grand old party with their new state Chief Kumari Selja, are trying to reconstitute the party. While the two Chautalas are in jail, and others are looking for a rescue plan.

In the small state like Haryana with too many regional parties, I think BJP’s mission 75 will be a cakewalk—owing to the scattered and demolished opposition dynasties. Now, let me take you to a few prominent political dynasties of the state to justify why I am using the terms “scattered” and “demolished”. The dynasties which are facing an existential crisis in the 14th Vidhan Sabha include:

1. Bansi Lal

The third Lal in the list is senior Congress leader Bansi Lal who served as the Chief Minister of state three times. Born into a family of Jats, Bansi Lal is recalled as the architect of the modern Haryana. He formed Haryana Vikas Party (HVP) which was merged with INC in 2004. His elder son Chaudhary Surender Singh a 2-time MP from Bhiwani was His political successor. After Surender’s death in a plane crash, his wife Kiran Chaudhry took over. Surender’s wife Kiran Chaudhary is an MLA, and their daughter Shruti Chaudhary is a former MP.

Shruti lost the last two consecutive general elections with a margin of over four lakh votes in 2019 and two lakh votes in 2014. Kiran Chaudhary was recently removed as the CLP Leader. After Surender’s death, with Kiran as the only active leader from the family now, Bansi Lal clan is not much effective among the people.

2. Chaudhary Devi Lal

Devi Lal or “Taau” as he was popularly called, was the first to set up a political dynasty in the state. He served as the sixth Deputy Prime Minister of India from 1989 to 1991 in V.P. Singh and Chandra Shekhar’s governments. He was also the founder of Indian National Lok Dal (INLD). Taau was also popular for his son’s infatuation. His son Om Prakash (O.P.) Chautala served as the Chief Minister of state several times. His INLD won 19 seats in 2014 General Elections.

During the 2016’s Jat agitation, as the major opposition party, INLD was witnessing a rise but soon fell after the inner-party clashes. Due to this,  INLD’s vote share in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections shrunk to 1.9%. O.P. is currently in jail serving a 10-year sentence in the recruitment scam with his son Abhay Chautala, while his elder son Ajay Chautala, a former MP, broke the party after a power tussle. Ajay’s sons Dushyant and Digvijay then formed the Jannayak Janta Party(JJP). This newly-formed party stood second in its first election—the Jind by-election, defeating Senior Congress leader Randeep Surjewala. JJP had tied the knots with AAP for 2019 general elections. The elections were a big wipeout for the new party, as except Dushyant Chautala, all JJP-AAP candidates lost deposits. The same case was with INLD too, as none of its candidates managed to secure deposits.

3. Bhajan Lal

In the Jat land of Haryana and among the three Lals Bhajan Lal was an exception, he was a Bishnoi. He became the sixth Chief Minister of Haryana from the Janata Party. His elder son Chander Mohan was the second Deputy Chief Minister of Haryana. But he was more known more for his love life. His younger son Kuldeep Bishnoi is an MLA from their family bastion Adampur. After being ousted from Indian National Congress, Kuldeep with his father founded Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC) Bhajan Lal in 2007 but merged with INC in 2016 again.

Kuldeep’s wife Renuka Bishnoi is also an MLA, while their elder son Bhavya Bishnoi lost 2019 general elections from Hisar on INC ticket. Bhavya lost even at the Adampur booth, which Bhajan Lal used to call his “family”, after 52 years. Kuldeep was also defeated in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. The Bishnoi family does not have much clout left in the state now. While in the caste-dominated politics of Haryana, Bishnois make up only 0.7%.

4. Bhupinder Singh Hooda

Bhupinder Singh Hooda is a senior Congress leader and has served as the Chief Minister of Haryana from 2004 to 2014. He is also a dynasty successor; his father Chaudhary Ranbir Singh Hooda was a senior Congress leader and an independence activist. Bhupinder’s son, Deepender Singh Hooda was a three-time MP from Rohtak. The father-son duo lost the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections from their bastions Sonipat and Rohtak.

Bhupinder Hooda was in a power tussle with the party high command for his nomination as Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee (HPCC) chief. Speculations of Hooda’s splitting the party were also doing the rounds. Despite the keen unlikes of Gandhi family, he was appointed as the CLP leader by the party. On the one side where CM Khattar’s clean image is the chief plank for BJP in Haryana, the former Chief Minister is in the rounds of CBI and ED in various land scam cases. This seems like the only hard-hitting dynasty on the verge but fighting for the same “existence”.

5. Kumari Shelja 

Kumari Selja is among one of the prominent Dalit faces of the Congress in Haryana. She was recently appointed as the Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee (HPCC) Chief. She was a cabinet minister in UPA-2. She is the daughter of Chaudhary Dalbir Singh, a three-time Congress MP.

So, these were the prominent dynasties of the poll-bound state of Haryana. All these dynasties, which once predominantly ruled the state for decades, are now on the verge of inexistence.

In Indian politics, Haryana is often recalled as the state of dynasty and Jat politics. But BJP’s non-jat and non-dynast formula is hitting the streets hard. CM Manohar Lal Khattar is a Punjabi and even a bachelor. Recently, he also announced not to give tickets to the relatives of BJP leaders. In a run-up to the elections, INC, which is suffering in power rivalries, recently replaced Ashok Tanwar with Kumari Selja as the state president. Whereas, they, too, come from a dynasty. Tanwar not entirely, but his father-in-law Lalit Maken was a Congress leader, and Lalit’s father-in-law Shankar Dayal Sharma served as the ninth President of India. However, Kumari Selja’s father Chaudhary Dalbir Singh was a towering Congress leader. Ashok and Selja both lost this year with more than three lakh votes.

The other major opposition INLD  has also faded after its split into JJP, while its prime leader O.P. is also in jail. As I told you above, after the fractions and huge defeats, the party is deeply shaken from its roots and not much effective as it used to be.

BJP has completed its “Jan Ashirwad Yatra”, while the opposition is still scattered and trying to join their blocks to build the family flock again.

After decades, Haryana is applauding the non-Jat governance. The recent by-polls to the municipal corporation elections or even the Lok Sabha elections—all were swept by BJP here. CM’s Jan Ashirwad Yatra also received huge support in the state. This resulted in the opinion polls to predict the results favoring BJP. The result analysis of the general elections 2019 says the state is bored with the old dynasties. This seems like a direct indication for the opposition to look for a new dynasty or a new non-Jat dynasty. Although it’s not only Congress or HJC or INLD, BJP, too, has a few small dynasties. But they are running smoothly under the saffron wave. Will the state demand new dynasties or hug the old ones and gift 75+ to BJP? Only time will tell.

Similar Posts

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below