BJP tally halved in Haryana, worries ahead of Assembly polls

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One of the main factors is farmers’ anger over the way they were dealt with during the agrarian protests of 2020 in which over 700 farmers died, as well as during the ongoing agitation on the Haryana-Punjab border.

From winning all the 10 seats in 2019 down to five, the BJP’s Haryana setback in the Lok Sabha polls has shocked many. These numbers are crucial because they could have a bearing on the state’s Assembly polls scheduled for October.

The BJP has seen a dip in its vote share from 58% to 46%, while the Congress increased its vote share from 28% in 2019 to 43%. BJP sources said this turnaround made the state BJP unit go into a huddle and craft a campaign that could reach out to people who might feel a sense of fatigue with a government in power for two terms.

The BJP also seems concerned about a repeat of the 2019 Assembly poll scenario, when it did not get a full majority. It won 40 seats in the 90-member House and had to ally with the Jannayak Janta Party (JJP), which had seven MLAs, to cross the halfway mark. The Congress had 31 seats at the time.

The BJP now does not have the support of the JJP, which it dumped in March as it replaced Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar with Nayab Singh Saini and carried out a Cabinet reshuffle. More dramatic developments followed last month as three Independent MLAs withdrew support of the Saini government and extended support to the Congress. Dushyant too followed suit.

At the moment, the Opposition is demanding a floor test to determine the majority of the Saini government. They have urged Governor Bandaru Dattatreya to dissolve the government and hold fresh elections.

With these factors in mind, and bolstered by the win, the Congress seems to be confident of the Assembly polls ahead.

“This time, the Congress won both the SC-reserved Lok Sabha seats of Ambala and Sirsa. Although the party got support from all 36 communities or the chhattis biradari in Haryana, the victory in Ambala and Sirsa shows that the SCs, STs, OBCs are all in favour of the Congress. We raised issues of price rise, unemployment, the plight of farmers, poor infrastructure, law and order and will continue to do so,” a senior Congress leader told The Indian Express.

What explains the BJP’s fall in Haryana.

Several factors seem to have contributed to the BJP’s poor performance. One of the main ones is farmers’ anger over the way they were dealt with during the agrarian protests of 2020 in which over 700 farmers died, as well as during the ongoing agitation on the Haryana-Punjab border. Additionally, the allegations of women wrestlers from Haryana against former BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh seemed to have found a resonance in the state.

And then there are problems with the Haryana government’s schemes flagged by the Opposition. The Parivar Pehchan Patra that was introduced in 2020 is a contentious issue and became one of the main planks of the Congress. The Opposition has been calling it a violation of the right to privacy. Additionally, it has been raising the number of public complaints over the scheme suggesting a high rate of inaccuracy in family IDs. The Congress has been able to spin a campaign around these issues, with former Chief Minister and Leader of Opposition Bhupinder Singh Hooda leading it from the front.

Hooda also handpicked candidates, including Satpal Brahmchari from Sonipat, Varun Chaudhry from Ambala, Jai Prakash from Hisar, and his son Deepender Hooda from Rohtak. All four went on to register comfortable victories.

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