Congress makes a virtual clean sweep

The winners: (From left) Former Haryana Chief Minister Bhajan Lal (hisar), Selja (Ambala), Naveen Jindal (Kurukshtra) and Shruti Chaudhry (Bhiwani-Mahendergarh)

The winners: (From left) Former Haryana Chief Minister Bhajan Lal (hisar), Selja (Ambala), Naveen Jindal (Kurukshtra) and Shruti Chaudhry (Bhiwani-Mahendergarh)  

Rajesh Ahuja

Wins nine out of ten Lok Sabha seats from Haryana; Bhajan Lal wins Hisar seat

CHANDIGARH: The Congress on Saturday virtually made a clean sweep in Haryana by winning nine out of the ten Lok Sabha seats from the State while former Chief Minister and Haryana Janhit Congress founder Bhajan Lal won the prestigious Hisar seat by a narrow margin of 6,983 votes. The Indian National Lok Dal and its alliance partner Bharatiya Janata Party were virtually routed out.

About 69 per cent of 1.20 crore voters in the State had cast their vote on May 7. A total of 210 candidates, including 14 women, were in the fray.

BJP loses Sonepat

The BJP, which had managed to win the Sonepat Lok Sabha seat in the 2004 polls, could not retain it this time round: the sitting MP Kishan Singh Sangwan lost to Jitender Singh Malik, a protégé of Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, by a record margin of 161,284 votes. The BJP-INLD alliance had contested five seats each but failed to open its account.

Mr. Bhajan Lal wrested the Hisar seat from the Congress by defeating his nearest rival Sampat Singh (INLD) and the sitting Congress MP Jai Prakash who emerged third.

The most spectacular result was that of Deepender Singh Hooda, sitting MP from Rohtak and son of Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, who retained the seat by a record margin of 445,736 votes. He trounced his nearest rival Nafe Singh Rathi of the INLD and all other candidates even lost their security deposits.

Retains seat

Union Minister of State for Urban Employment and Poverty Alleviation Kumari Selja retained her Ambala (Reserved) seat defeating Rattan Lal Kataria of the BJP by 14,570 votes.

Union Minister of State for Defence Production Rao Inderjit Singh, who had won in 2004 from the erstwhile Mahendergarh seat, defeated his nearest rival Zakir Hussain (BSP) by a margin of 84,863 in the newly-carved constituency of Gurgaon.

Congress candidate Shruti Chaudhry, grand-daughter of the late Haryana Chief Minister Bansi Lal, defeated her nearest rival Ajay Singh Chautala (INLD) by 55,053 votes in the newly christened Bhiwani-Mahendergarh constituency.

Indian Youth Congress president Ashok Tanwar defeated his nearest rival Sita Ram of the INLD by 35,499 votes in Sirsa (Reserved) constituency.

Sitting Congress MP from Karnal Arvind Sharma retained the seat defeating his nearest BSP rival Maratha Virender Verma by 76,346 votes.

Sitting Congress MP Avtar Singh Bhadana retained the Faridabad seat defeating Ram Chander Bainda of the BJP by 68,201 votes.

Sitting Congress MP Naveen Jindal retained the Kurukshetra seat trouncing his nearest INLD rival Ashok Arora by 118,729 votes.

Quadrangular contests

The Congress, which was locked in quadrangular contests in all the ten constituencies of Ambala, Kurukshetra, Karnal, Sonepat, Faridabad, Gurgaon, Bhiwani-Mahendergarh, Rohtak, Hisar and Sirsa with the entry of the newly-floated Haryana Janhit Congress and the Bahujan Samaj Party into the fray besides the INLD-BJP alliance, had contested the polls highlighting the development and stability ushered in by the UPA Government at the Centre and the “performance” of the Hooda Government during the past four years.

According to political observers here, these “mantras” seem to have worked well with the electorate and this is reflected in the victory margin of almost all the Congress nominees and especially Deepender Singh Hooda who is said to have made history as “no sitting MP has retained his seat by a margin of over 4.45 lakh votes”.

It is being said that the pre-poll assertion of the Chief Minister that the Congress would make a clean sweep as there was “no anti-incumbency but pro-incumbency” has proved to be true despite the undercurrents of infighting within the Congress ranks by those, including few Ministers and MLAs, who were denied tickets. This has also proved those poll pundits wrong who maintained that the Congress faced an “uphill task” in front of the INLD-BJP juggernaut.

Haryana Congress Campaign Committee in-charge and Ambala MLA Venod Sharma, who actively campaigned for the party candidates, told The Hindu that the verdict had clearly proved that it was rather the opposition parties which had not been able to “tackle the overall non-controversial image of Mr. Hooda and the initiatives under way in the State to not only transform Haryana into the number one State but also solve long-pending public issues relating to power and water”.

Political observers say that the erosion in the INLD base in both rural and urban areas has become all the more prominent with today’s verdict.

It is also being said that the BJP, which had parted company in the recent past with the INLD, has not gained from the tie-up as its grassroots workers, especially in the urban areas, were dead set against any form of rapprochement with the Chautala clan.

It is also being said in political circles that even though the BSP, which had contested all ten seats, failed to replicate its social engineering formula in Haryana, yet the detailed results would have to be studied as to how its candidates performed and to what extent they cut into the margins of the Congress nominees.

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