Hisar MP Brijendra’s exit from BJP was on cards - Hindustan Times
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Hisar MP Brijendra’s exit from BJP was on cards

By, Sunil Rahar, Chandigarh
Mar 11, 2024 05:08 AM IST

His decision to join the Congress lacked the element of surprise and stealth. But Brijendra walked out of the BJP before the party could officially dump him by denying the ticket from Hisar, the seat which he had won by trouncing Jannayak Janta Party (JJP) nominee Dushyant Chautala (now deputy chief minister in BJP-led Haryana government) by over three lakh votes.

BJP’s Hisar MP Brijendra Singh, who took the electoral plunge in 2019 after quitting the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), exiting the saffron camp ahead of the parliamentary elections slugfest was already on the cards.

MP Brijendra Singh (PTI)
MP Brijendra Singh (PTI)

His decision to join the Congress lacked the element of surprise and stealth. But Brijendra walked out of the BJP before the party could officially dump him by denying the ticket from Hisar, the seat which he had won by trouncing Jannayak Janta Party (JJP) nominee Dushyant Chautala (now deputy chief minister in BJP-led Haryana government) by over three lakh votes.

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In 2014, Dushyant (then INLD nominee) had defeated Kuldeep Bishnoi (HJC) by over 31,000 votes.

There were clear indications that the BJP may not field Brijendra again as the exercise to shortlist the candidates was almost complete. The BJP may announce candidates for 10 Lok Sabha seats in Haryana anytime.

Hence, Sunday’s switchover by Brijendra, who is the son of Congress stalwart-turned BJP leader and former Union minister Birender Singh, will clearly boost the prospects of the Congress in Hisar parliamentary seat.

According to Prof Ashutosh Kumar, who teaches political science at Panjab University in Chandigarh, the BJP MP joining Congress is not a very surprising development.

Most of the present-day politicians, he says, shift parties if in their calculation it enhances their chances of getting a ticket and prospects of winning election.

“Brijendra Singh must be feeling insecure about his political future in the BJP,” Prof Kumar said. That the Hisar MP’s future in the BJP could be short had started becoming clear after his father and former Union minister Birender Singh rarely missed a chance to hit out at his party colleague and Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar.

Was against BJP-JJP alliance

At the root of Birender’s diatribe has been the BJP’s decision to continue its alliance with the JJP. The veteran Jat leader had been using every public platform, speaking adversely about the BJP-JJP coalition in Haryana and targeting JJP’s top leadership. The JJP has been consolidating its position in assembly segments, once considered citadel of Birender.

Birender, who is a maternal grandson of peasantry leader Sir Chhotu Ram, also hit out against the BJP during agitations by the wrestlers and farmers.

He had left the Congress ahead of the 2014 general election and joined the BJP. He is expected to come back to the Congress shortly.

Meanwhile, citing “compelling political reasons” behind joining the Congress, Brijendra told reporters in Delhi that one of the key reasons behind leaving the BJP was party’s alliance with the JJP.

“At the October 2 rally last year in Jind, we had announced to part ways with the BJP if it continues its alliance with the JJP in Haryana,” he said.

In the opinion of Professor Anant Ram, a retired political science teacher from Bhiwani government college, the Hisar MP should have left the saffron camp much earlier.

“It is a late decision (to quit the BJP). The MP’s father, veteran Jat leader Birender Singh, has a considerable following in eight to 10 assembly seats of Bangar belt,” said the expert, pointing out the position of father-son duo had become untenable after they started opposing the BJP-JJP alliance while remaining in the BJP.

He said as Birender remained in the Congress for more than four decades, he could not mix himself and match the BJP’s ideology despite remaining a Union minister.

Haryana watchers say that in Jat-dominated seats, including the Hisar parliamentary constituency, the BJP primarily banks on consolidation of non-Jat voters in favour of its candidates. Divide in Jat votes, benefits the saffron party if it fields a non-Jat leader.

The home coming of Birender’s clan will strengthen the Congress in Bangar belt (Jind, Uchana, Narwana, and pockets of Hisar, Kaithal, and Bhiwani). In what is called Deswali belt (Jhajjar-Rohtak-Sonepat), the Congress stalwart Bhupinder Singh Hooda commands huge popularity among the Jat voters, while in the Bagdi belt, bordering Rajasthan, the Jat community largely supports the JJP and the INLD.

The testament to popularity of Birender Singh is the fact that he had won five assembly elections from Uchana constituency in Jind and remained Cabinet minister in Haryana government on three occasions. In 2014, he resigned from the Congress and joined the BJP. The saffron party rewarded him with berth in the Rajya Sabha from where he resigned on January 20, 2020, after his son Brijendra Singh won from the Hisar Lok Sabha seat.

“The BJP has plenty of options from Hisar parliamentary seat. Brijendra was not sure about the ticket. Instead of focusing on their work, Brijendra and his father Birender continued attacking the JJP and the BJP. Birender also wanted the BJP to induct Brijendra in the Union cabinet, but his efforts went in vain,” Satish Tyagi, a Rohtak-based political commentator, said.

Now, after Hisar MP Brijendra, his father Birender Singh joining the Congress is just a matter of time.

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