Haryana: How will the BJP, which cashed in on Chaudhary Birender Singh, be affected by his departure?

Singh's family legacy, notably his lineage as the grandson of Sir Chhotu Ram, a revered figure in Haryana politics known as the messiah of farmers, adds to his political stature

Former BJP leaders Birender Singh and his wife Prem Lata join Congress in Delhi on 9 April (photo: Vipin/National Herald)
Former BJP leaders Birender Singh and his wife Prem Lata join Congress in Delhi on 9 April (photo: Vipin/National Herald)

Dhirendra Awasthi

Fearless.... Unafraid... The departure of former Union Minister Chaudhary Birender Singh, the grandson of Sir Chhotu Ram, a messiah of farmers, to the Congress in the midst of the Lok Sabha elections is a major event in Haryana politics. Birender Singh led the BJP to victory in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections in Hisar for the first time in 68 years.

Even in 2014, the BJP, which climbed the ladder of power in Haryana for the first time on its own, knows the value of Birender Singh's crutches very well. The saffron party is also well aware of Birender Singh's reach in Haryana's political and social fabric. The BJP's problem now is not just that this political stalwart of Haryana has gone to the Congress, but the possible consequences of this incident are troubling him.

Before the 2014 Haryana assembly elections, two big political heavyweights had joined the BJP. These two names were Chaudhary Birender Singh and Ahirwal's big leader Rao Inderjit Singh. Both these veterans of Haryana proved to be a check for the BJP, which it cashed fiercely in the assembly elections. If it is said that without these two, it would not have been possible for the BJP to win the 2014 assembly elections on its own, then it would not be wrong.

Now the BJP's crisis is that the direction of the clock does not change. The bugle for the LS elections in Haryana is not yet sounded fully that BJP MP from Hisar, Brijendra Singh, who was earlier an IAS officer, left the saffron party and now his father Chaudhary Birender Singh has also returned to the Congress.

The talk is that some BJP MLAs are also in touch with Chaudhary Birender Singh and he too may switch sides in the next few days. If sources are to be believed, its concern has been clearly seen in the brainstorming with MLAs at CM Nayab Singh Saini's residence in Chandigarh a day ago.

The BJP knows very well what it means for Chaudhary Birender Singh to leave, the party know how much damage Chaudhary Birender Singh's supporters, present in more or less all of Haryana along with Haryana's Bangar belt, can cause. It was Birender Singh who won the 2019 Lok Sabha elections in Hisar for the first time in 68 years. He got his IAS son Brijendra Singh to contest the Lok Sabha elections from Hisar and for the first time he led the BJP to victory.

Earlier in 1984, Birender Singh himself was elected to the Lok Sabha by defeating former Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala from Hisar by a huge margin. The first Lok Sabha election in Hisar was held in 1951, when it was part of united Punjab. After the formation of Haryana, in the 1967 Lok Sabha elections, Y Singh contested on behalf of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh. Y Singh got only 54635 votes. After this, in 1991, BJP fielded Mr. Niwas Goel, who also got only 35486 votes. In 2004, Swami Raghavananda was made the BJP candidate from here, but he left the election midway. In Hisar LS, the BJP got a smile in 2019 thanks to Chaudhary Birender Singh.

Acceptance from political to social organisations

Chaudhary Birender Singh is one of the political stalwarts of Haryana, who was related to the family of all big politicians INLD supremo Om Prakash Chautala, late Tau Devi Lal , late Bansi Lal, late Bhajan Lal. Chaudhary Birender Singh also had good relations with the family of Rao Birender Singh, a former Chief Minister and a strong leader of Ahirwal. He also has good relations with social and farmer organizations. Even while being in the BJP, he stood with the farmers during the farmers' movement, despite which no one in the party dared to speak against him.

Heir of Sir Chhotu Ram, the messiah of farmers

The stature of Chhotu Ram, who was a big farmer leader of Haryana, can be gauged from the fact that he is called the messiah of farmers. Chaudhary Birender Singh is the grandson of Chhotu Ram. Chhotu Ram's contribution in the lives of farmers and working class is unparalleled. In 1938, Sir Chhotu Ram passed the Money Lenders Registration Act. Due to this act, the army of moneylenders was curbed. The Free Return of Mortgaged Land Act-1938 was passed.

Through this Act, all the lands which were sold by attachment after 8 June, 1901 and were mortgaged for 37years , were returned to the farmers. He got the Agricultural Produce Market Act-1938 passed, which was considered effective from 5 May 1939. Under this act, a rule was made to provide fair price to the farmers for the crop. The Trade Workers Act, 1940 was enacted which came into force on 11 June 1940. This law, which prohibits bonded labour, freed the workers from exploitation. One day holiday in a week with paid and 8 hours of worka day were fixed.

A historic act in the form of Debt Waiver Act-1934 was enacted by Chaudhary Chhotu Ram on 8 April 1935 to free the farmers and laborers from the clutches of moneylenders. Under this law, if double the loan amount has been paid, then the borrower will be considered debt-free. These were such historic reforms, due to which Sir Chhotu Ram's name echoed in Haryana even during the farmers' movement against the three agricultural laws brought by the central government.

Chaudhary Birender Singh is considered to have a good influence in the Jat-dominated Bangar belt, which includes Jind and adjoining areas . The Hisar LS constituency, from where his son Brijendra Singh is a BJP MP, has around 33 per cent Jat voters. In 1984, Chaudhary Birender Singh himself started parliamentary politics by winning the LS election from there. The Hisar VS region spans 3 districts Hisar, Bhiwani and Jind. Uchana VS constituency of Jind district, from where Chaudhary Birender Singh has been a five-time MLA, also falls in Hisar district.

Birender Singh's supporters are not confined to these 3 districts. According to political pundits, Birender Singh has supporters all over Haryana. It is obvious that the departure of Birender Singh, who has been a five-time MLA , two-time Rajya Sabha and one-time Lok Sabha MP from Jind's Uchana seat, is going to harm the BJP in the LS as well as in the assembly elections. The BJP also knows the meaning of Chaudhary Birender Singh, who has completed a political journey of almost 53 years and won the vice election on a Congress ticket in 1977 even in half of the Janata Party.

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