By Vineet Bhalla

Congress candidate Raj Babbar on the campaign trail. | @RajBabbar23 via Twitter

“The people here are disappointed with Modi but the Congress has not done anything to capture the public and create enthusiasm to vote for it,” grumbled Unani doctor and social activist Ashfaq Alam. He was sitting in his clinic-cum-home in the town of Firozpur Jhirka, about an hour away from the glittering suburb of Gurgaon, in the sleepy southern Haryanvi district of Nuh.

Despite being part of the National Capital Region and located in one of the most prosperous states in the country, Nuh is the most under-developed district in India.

In the last decade, Nuh has also been the focus of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s effort to introducecommunal polarisation into the politics of Haryana. About 80% of the district’s population is Muslim. In the ten years of BJP rule at the Centre and the state, there have been numerous incidents of Muslim men being lynched by cow protection gangs in Nuh. This culminated in communal rioting in the district in July, leaving at least seven people dead.

With Haryana set to vote in the Lok Sabha election on May 25, voters in Nuh are presented with a two-horse race for the Gurgaon Lok Sabha constituency, of which Nuh is a part. In one corner is the BJP’s three-time MP Rao Inderjit Singh, the scion of a royal Yadav family from the adjoining district of Rewari. In the other is the Indian National Congress’ Raj Babbar, an actor who has little connection with Haryana.

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