Chandigarh: The October 13 by election to the Hisar Lok Sabha seat is not just another poll in Haryana. This one is going to be an all-out battle among the top leadership of all major parties in the state as they try to fit into the shoes of political stalwart and former Chief Minister Bhajan Lal.The by election has been necessitated by the death of Bhajan Lal in June this year.

Three-time Chief Minister and former Union Minister, Bhajan Lal was the only towering non-Jat leader in Haryana's politics dominated by Jat community leaders. He was the only non-Congress winner in the state in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections. All other nine Lok Sabha seats went to the Congress kitty at that time.

Lal had won the Hisar Lok Sabha seat in the May 2009 elections as a Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC) candidate by a margin of about 7,000 votes, beating the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) and the ruling Congress nominees.

The stakes for the three main players on the Hisar seat - the Congress, INLD and the HJC - this time are high as they now try to fit into his shoes.

The seriousness of the contest can be gauged from the fact that the main opposition INLD has announced the name of its leader Ajay Singh Chautala for the bypoll. Chautala, the son of former Chief Minister and INLD supremo Om Prakash Chautala, is a sitting legislator in the state.

For the HJC and Bhajan Lal's son Kuldeep Bishnoi, the stakes are high as it is important for his family to win this seat to retain the party's hold over the area.

Bishnoi is likely to field a family member or contest the election himself to give his best shot for this seat, the home district of the Bhajan Lal family. For Bishnoi personally, it will be the first time he will face an election when his father is not around.

For the ruling Congress and Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda too, the bypoll is important. Having come back to power in the October 2009 Assembly elections by piggy-backing on the support of independent legislators and then engineering defections in the HJC, Hooda has to prove that his government is popular.

The going is unlikely to be easy for the Congress on this seat though. The party has won the seat only five of the 12 times in the Lok Sabha elections held in the state.

Former MP Jaiprakash, who has won the seat three times - in 1989, 1996 and 2004 - is a strong contender for the Congress ticket. He won the election each time on the Janata Dal, Haryana Vikas Party and Congress tickets respectively.

Another name doing the rounds is that of former Finance Minister Sampat Singh, who is the sitting Congress legislator from Nalwa. He had left the INLD just before the 2009 Assembly elections to join the Congress.

Senior Congress leader and Rajya Sabha MP Birender Singh too is seeking the ticket for the seat for a member of his family.

There are nearly 1.3 million voters in Hisar. Over 400,000 of these are Jat community votes.

(Agencies)