The mad scramble has begun. In the run-up to the assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, the battle between the two second-generation Jat chieftains—Rashtriya Lok Dal (rld) leader Ajit Singh and Haryana CM Om Prakash Chautala—is getting fiercer by the day. The battleground is western UP and the booty up for grabs the crucial Jat vote. Things have now taken a curious turn with Chautala throwing a challenge to Ajit Singh on the latter's home turf by announcing that he will field candidates for the March 2002 election.
With neither leader having any genuine plank to counter the other, both are going all out in raking up the same issue—a separate state comprising the 22 districts of western UP. In a desperate attempt to sound original, both Jat leaders have different names for the proposed state. While Ajit Singh has declared that the fight for a separate Harit Pradesh tops his political agenda, Chautala has asked his supporters to begin a struggle in right earnest for a separate Kisan Pradesh. Whatever their relative merits, it poses a huge dilemma for the bjp, which has been pretty ambiguous on the idea of a separate 'Jatland' till now.