Ahead Of Poll, BJP Now Has Members From Haryana's 3 Big Political Families

For the BJP, Kiran Choudhary's signing completes a trifecta; the party now has senior members from each of Haryana's three biggest political families.

Ex-Congress leaders Kiran Choudhary and Shruti Choudhary joined the BJP.

New Delhi:

The Congress - boosted by strong results in May's Haryana Lok Sabha election, in which it won five of 10 seats on offer - faced a setback Wednesday after two senior leaders jumped ship to the BJP.

Kiran Choudhary, a four-time MLA from the Tosham Assembly constituency, and her daughter Shruti Choudhary, the ex-Bhiwani-Mahendragarh Lok Sabha MP and Working President of the party's state unit, joined the BJP as ex-Chief Minister ML Khattar and his successor, Nayab Singh Saini looked on.

This means the ruling party now boasts members from each of Haryana's three 'Lal' dynasties - founded by Devi Lal, Bhajan Lal, and Bansi Lal - which have dominated since the state's birth in 1966.

The BJP's new recruits - the daughter-in-law and granddaughter-in-law of Bansi Lal - said they would "work tirelessly to ensure the party returns to power for a third time in a row". Mrs Choudhary said she took this decision "because Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) has pledged to a developed India by 2047".

The two quit the Congress 24 hours earlier; in a letter to party boss Mallikarjun Kharge, Mrs Choudhary said, "It is most unfortunate that Congress in Haryana is being run as a personal fiefdom (seen as a jibe at ex-Chief Minister Bhupinder Hooda) leaving no space for sincere voices... who have been stifled.."

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Sources have said Mrs Choudhary and Ms Choudhary's jump was because the latter was denied a ticket to contest the Bhiwani-Mahendragarh Lok Sabha seat in this election. The seat was won by Shruti Choudhary in 2009 but has been held by the BJP's Dharambir Singh Chaudhary since.

Mr Chaudhary won the 2024 election by beating the Congress' Dan Yadav, who polled nearly twice the votes and vote share Ms Choudhary claimed in the 2014 and 2019 elections.

Importance Of Kiran, Shruti Choudhary To BJP

That Mrs Choudhary and her daughter have joined (a long) list of politicians swapping the Congress for the BJP is big news, but bigger still is the legacy they bring just months before a state election.

Mrs Choudhary is the daughter-in-law of Bansi Lal, a seven-time MLA, three-time MP, and three-time Haryana Chief Minister, and the patriarch of one of the state's more influential political clans.

The Tosham seat Mrs Choudhary has held for the Congress since 2005 was her father-in-law's bastion - he won it five times in three decades. More significantly, it has never been won by the BJP.

The BJP will hope that Mrs Choudhary and her family connections will bring not only the Tosham seat but also a sizeable chunk of Jat votes that the party has been courting for several years, but now seems to be slipping through its fingers as a result of the farmers' ongoing protests against the centre.

The BJP - at the central and state levels - has been facing flak from Jat voters, who are largely farmers, over various issues, including the demand for legal backing for MSP, or minimum support price.

This includes the Sonipat and Rohtak regions, where some villages even refused to vote during the Lok Sabha election. Sonipat and Rohtak have 18 Assembly segments between them, of which the BJP won only four (post-poll ally JJP got one more) in the last state election, while the Congress swept 12.

The BJP could have used those 12 seats after finishing six below the majority mark of 46.

Signing Mrs Choudhary and her family's political clout among Jats could also help the BJP overcome the loss of the JJP, its former ally in the state government, which was the party's Jat card.

BJP Completes Sweep Of Haryana's 3 Big Families

In August last year Kuldeep Bishnoi and his wife, Renuka, joined the BJP. Mr Khattar, then the Chief Minister, presided over their induction. Mr Bishnoi, a four-time MLA whom the Congress expelled for cross-voting in a Rajya Sabha poll, had also heaped praise on the PM, whom he called "the best".

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Like Mrs Choudhary, Mr Bishnoi comes from one of the state's more influential families; he is the son of ex-Chief Minister Bhajan Lal, credited with building the non-Jat bank now largely with the BJP.

And, like Mrs Choudhary, Mr Bishnoi's capture was key since his family controls the Adampur Assembly seat that the BJP won for the first time - by his son Bhavya - in a 2022 bypoll.

The third big signing was Ranjit Singh Chautala, the son of two-time ex-Deputy Prime Minister Chaudhary Devi Lal, who joined in March and is now a state minister.

With input from agencies

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