Haryana elections : A setback to defectors and khap panchayats
D.R. Chaudhry is is a retired academic from Delhi University.
There has been a popular perception that khap panchyats in Haryana enjoy a lot of influence and popularity in society. It has been largely a media creation. The myth has been exploded in the latest assembly elections. This time four important khap leaders were contestants.
Baljit Singh Malik is the head of the Gathwala khap of Malik gotra Jats — the largest khap of Haryana. He was a BJP candidate from the Baroda constituency dominated by Malik Jats in Sonepat district. He lost his deposit. Tek Ram Kandela, head of the Kandela khap, which is said to have influence in two dozen villages, contested as an independent candidate from the Jind constituency. He too lost his deposit. Shamsher Kharkara, chief of Athgaon khap, contested from the Meham constituency in Rohtak district on the BJP ticket. He lost to the Congress candidate. Santosh Dahiya, president of the women wing of the Sarvkhap Panchayat, contested from the Beri constituency on the INLD ticket. She finished a poor fourth.