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Battle over Chaudhary Bansi Lal’s legacy continues among descendants

Ahead of the assembly elections, Haryana politics is witnessing significant upheaval. The factional feud within the family of late Chief Minister Chaudhary Bansi Lal has intensified following Kiran Chaudhary’s shift to the BJP. Kiran Chaudhary is now vying for the ticket from Tosham under the BJP, while Bansi Lal’s grandson Anirudh Chaudhary has staked his […]

Ahead of the assembly elections, Haryana politics is witnessing significant upheaval. The factional feud within the family of late Chief Minister Chaudhary Bansi Lal has intensified following Kiran Chaudhary’s shift to the BJP. Kiran Chaudhary is now vying for the ticket from Tosham under the BJP, while Bansi Lal’s grandson Anirudh Chaudhary has staked his claim on the same seat under the Congress.

Kiran Chaudhary’s move to BJP has raised expectations within the party across 6 to 8 assembly constituencies in Bhiwani and neighbouring districts. Meanwhile, Bhupendra Singh Hooda is consolidating his position in the region through Ranbir Mahindra and his son, Anirudh Chaudhary. Both parties are actively courting Bansi Lal’s supporters and maximising votes through these family connections.

The controversy escalated with a statement from Hooda’s close aide Jaiprakash during a workers’ conference in Uchana, asserting, “Kiran Chaudhary is not the rightful heir to Bansi Lal’s legacy. Legacies are inherited through males, not females. Ranbir Mahindra and Anirudh are Bansi Lal’s true heirs; women cannot inherit.” Responding to this, Kiran Chaudhary, MLA from Tosham, countered, “Indira Gandhi inherited Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru’s legacy. Former CM Chaudhary Bansi Lal entrusted his legacy to my daughter and his granddaughter Shruti Chaudhary by symbolically anointing her. Jaiprakash’s comments stem from his lack of daughters or daughters-in-law.”

Last year, at the Congress’s ‘Opposition Aapke Saamne’ rally in Bhiwani, Hooda reinforced his ties with the Bansi Lal family, supported by Bansi Lal’s elder son’s family and his son-in-law, former MLA from Loharu, Sombir Singh. The rally echoed with slogans in honour of Bansi Lal, chanted by Anirudh Chaudhary himself alongside endorsements for Bhupendra Hooda. Kiran Chaudhary’s tenure in Congress was marked by friction with Bhupendra Singh Hooda, contrasting with the amicable relations between Hooda and her brother-in-law Ranbir Mahindra and his son Anirudh Chaudhary. These dynamics often posed challenges for Kiran Chaudhary.

The Bhiwani Lok Sabha constituency was established in 1977, and Chaudhary Bansi Lal contested during the Emergency, facing defeat against Chandravati. He later secured victories in 1980, 1984, 1989, and 1991. Bansi Lal’s younger son, Surendra Singh, also served as an MP from Bhiwani.

Despite Shruti Chaudhary’s election as MP in 2009, succeeding elections in 2014 and 2019 saw no Bansi Lal family members enter the electoral fray, marking a 33-year gap.

The struggle over political legacy has been witnessed among the families of late CMs Bansi Lal, Bhajan Lal, and Devi Lal in their final years. Family members frequently clashed in their pursuit of political aspirations, even contesting against each other. Notably, in the 1998 Lok Sabha elections, Bhiwani, Bansi Lal’s stronghold, saw his sons Ranbir Singh Mahendra and Surendra Singh face off.

Ranbir contested on a Congress ticket, while Surendra represented Bansi Lal’s party, Haryana Vikas Party (HVP). The election also featured Ajay Chautala, grandson of Devi Lal, adding another layer to the contest.

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