The Jannayak Janta Party (JJP), the junior partner in the BJP-led coalition government in Haryana, drew a blank on its political debut in Rajasthan. It finished behind NOTA with 0.14% vote share, as per the election results announced on December 3.
The dismal electoral performance in the neighbouring State could add to the woes of the beleaguered party, already battling erosion of its core vote bank in Haryana, as the clamour within Haryana’s BJP unit for breaking ties with the JJP might grow louder now. Several BJP leaders, including former Union Minister Birender Singh, have been strongly advocating that the saffron party go it alone in the Haryana Assembly poll next year.
Taking a plunge into the desert State politics, the JJP, formed after the split in the Indian National Lok Dal in December 2018, had fielded candidates on 19 seats (of the total 200 seats) and hoped to make a mark in at least six: Fatehpur, Danta Ramgarh, Neem Ka Thana, Hindaun, Kotputli, and Suratgarh.
Senior party leader and Haryana Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala had held more than 20 rallies across the State seeking votes for the party’s candidates. Responding to the Assembly poll results, Mr. Dushyant said the election marked the JJP’s entry into Rajasthan, and efforts would be taken to expand the party in the State.
The party came up with its best performance in Fatehpur with its candidate Nand Kishore Maharia finishing third with 23,851 votes. Mr. Maharia, who won as Independent from Fatehpur in 2013, had earlier contested on the BJP symbol in 2008 and finished second.
In the remaining five Assembly constituencies, identified by the party as ‘strong’, its candidates finished distant fourth and fifth and lost their security deposits. JJP’s Rajasthan president Prithviraj Meel, the party’s Suratgarh candidate, managed to poll only 6,840 votes to finish a distant fourth on the seat won by Congress’ Dungarram Gedar, who got 1,16,841 votes.