Lok Sabha Election 2019

Tough test for the BJP in Haryana

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses an election rally at Kurukshetra in Haryana on May 8, 2019.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses an election rally at Kurukshetra in Haryana on May 8, 2019.   | Photo Credit: Akhilesh Kumar

In the 2014 Lok Sabha election, the BJP almost swept Haryana riding on the “Modi” wave and an undercurrent of anger against the ruling Congress for alleged regional biases in recruitment and development. For the May 12 election in the State, the voters are, however, set to rate the ruling BJP on its performance and fulfilment of election promises in the State and the Centre.

In 2014, the BJP won seven of the 10 seats and the Indian National Lok Dal two. The Congress retained just the Rohtak seat, won by Deepender Singh Hooda, son of the then Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda. The BJP contested eight seats, while its then ally, the Haryana Janhit Congress, lost the two it contested.

A leading political analyst in the State opines that in 2014, the BJP benefited from a confluence of favourable factors.

“Apart from the undercurrent [against the Congress] and Modi wave, Jat division and non-Jat consolidation proved to be a catalyst in 2014,” said Kushal Pal, Head of the Department of Political Science at Dyal Singh College in Karnal. “Also, the BJP got the support of the Sirsa-based Dera Sacha Sauda, which helped the party in a big way as north Haryana has a sizeable strength of Dera supporters. Another factor that worked in the BJP’s favour was the crossing over of senior Congress leaders like Birendra Singh and Rao Inderjeet Singh,” he said.

This time, however, the performance of the BJP at the Centre and in the State are likely to be a larger factor in influencing voting intentions. The recent win in the Jind Assembly election and victories in the municipal polls in five cities have buoyed the BJP’s confidence. However, with the Congress fielding seasoned campaigners like Kumari Selja and Ashok Tanwar in many seats, the party is seen offering a “challenging fight”.

“People will assess the BJP on what has been delivered by it on key promises, which included two crore jobs, and this doesn’t look to be working in favour of the party,” Professor Pal said.

The BJP has been consistently evoking the national security issue. “Haryana sends its youth to the armed forces so air strikes post Pulwama and surgical strikes will find some favour. But with the BJP not in favour of farm loan waiver schemes, it could dent its farmer vote base,” he said.

The Congress is publicising its proposed ‘Nyay’ scheme, besides policies aimed at benefiting farmers.

“The grand old party is also banking on its old warhorses including former CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda and his son Deepinder Singh Hooda,” observed Mr. Pal. “Besides, it has fielded heavyweight leaders including Kumari Selja, Ashok Tanwar and Kuldeep Sharma to not let the election be a cakewalk for the BJP,” he added.

This time, the INLD’s breakaway faction, the Jannayak Janta Party, is in the fray and is contesting seven seats in alliance with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).

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Printable version | Sep 22, 2020 10:45:53 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/lok-sabha-2019/tough-test-for-the-bjp-in-haryana/article27104734.ece

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