Modi factor works wonders in Haryana

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Modi factor works wonders in Haryana

Friday, 24 May 2019 | Nishu Mahajan | Chandigarh

The “Modi factor” worked well for the Bharatiya Janata Party in Jatland-Haryana. The saffron party managed to sweep the northern state, winning all 10 Lok Sabha seats.

The BJP, which was contesting on its own on all 10 parliamentary seats in Haryana, registered a rise of three seats in its tally from last general elections 2014. Its main challenger Congress failed to retain its stronghold –Rohtak, which witnessed a nail-biting finish.

The ballot battle in Haryana was multi-cornered this time with the BJP, the Congress, the Indian National Lok Dal, Jannayak Janta Party-Aam Aadmi Party alliance and Bahujan Samaj Party-Loktantra Suraksha Party combine in the fray.

Riding high on a “Modi-for-PM” and nationalism plank, the BJP swept Haryana as bigwigs of its main challenger – Congress-tasted humiliating defeat. The Congress’ heavyweights who suffered defeat included two-time former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, his son Deepender Singh Hooda, Haryana state party chief Ashok Tanwar, Rajya Sabha MP Kumari Selja, four-time MP Avtar Singh Bhadana.

Other political players in the fray including INLD, JJP-AAP alliance and BSP-LSP failed to make any major impact in the electoral contest in the state. The poll battle remained confined to BJP Vs Congress except on one i.e Hisar, where JJP leader and outgoing MP Dushyant Chautala finished at second place.

In general elections, the anti-incumbency factor failed to pierce through the “Modi factor” as the BJP successfully played the nationalism card with continuous references to Pulwama terror attack and the Balakot air strikes during its campaigning in Haryana. On the other hand, the Congress, which targeted the BJP over non-fulfilled poll promises and alleged corruption in the Rafale fighter jet deal, failed to impress the voters in northern state of Haryana, which is ruled by BJP Government under Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar.

As the BJP pulled out all stops on the campaign trail to protect its 2014 tally, the “Modi factor” also compensated for the anti-incumbency and allegations of lack of personal connect faced by the Haryana BJP MPs, who sought votes in the name of Prime Minister and his brand of nationalism.

In the last parliamentary elections also, the BJP while riding high on “Modi wave” and with the help of several political turncoats had managed to win seven of eight Lok Sabha seats the party contested in the state. Its ally Haryana Janhit Congress (BL) at that time could not win a single seat losing two it had contested, while INLD had won two seats and Congress had won one seat i.e Rohtak.

For the 2019 parliamentary polls, the BJP keen to strengthen its grip on the state had retained its five MPs, fielded four new faces and one prominent turncoat candidate. The Congress, which was trying to put a formidable fight and make a comeback in Haryana ahead of State Assembly polls in October, had placed its bet on tried and trusted heavyweights.

Both national parties had also brought out their bigwigs in the run-up to the general elections, with PM Narendra Modi, BJP chief Amit Shah, Congress president Rahul Gandhi, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi holding several rallies featuring blistering personal attacks.

The state had witnessed about 70 percent voter turnout on May 12 with Sirsa parliamentary constituency (reserved) recording the maximum voting with 73.48 percentage and Karnal recording the lowest with 64.68 percentage.

As many as 223 candidates including 11 women contested on 10 Lok Sabha seats, which went to polling on May 12 in the state.

As far as contest on parliamentary seats is concerned, two –time former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda was among the heavyweights ending up on the losing side in the general elections.

Hooda, who is seen as Congress’ most prominent Jat face in Haryana was defeated by BJP’s MP Ramesh Chander Kaushik in Sonipat parliamentary seat by over 1.6 lakh votes.

With the embarrassing defeat, Hooda’s aspirations to become Congress’ Chief Ministerial face in Haryana assembly polls due to be held later this year seems implausible now.

The former Chief Minister’s son Deepender Singh Hooda lost with a margin of about 2600 votes against BJP’s nominee Arvind Kumar Sharma.

Another prominent Congress leader, Rajya Sabha MP Kumari Selja lost election in Ambala Lok Sabha seat to BJP MP Rattan Lal Kataria by a margin of 3.4 lakh votes.

Two Union Ministers—Krishan Pal Gurjar and Rao Inderjit Singh—managed to retain their parliamentary seats. Krishan Pal Gurjar won from Faridabad seat against his nearest rival Congress’ Avtar Singh Bhadana by a huge margin of over 6.15 lakh votes. Krishan Pal had won by a margin of over 4.6 lakh votes against the same rival Avtar Singh Bhadana of Congress in 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

Rao Inderjit Singh registered third consecutive victory on Gurgaon Lok Sabha seat with a margin of over 3.8 lakh votes against Congress’ nominee Capt Ajay Singh Yadav.

In Bhiwani-Mahendragarh parliamentary seat, BJP MP Dharambir Singh trounced Congress’ Shruti Choudhry for the second consecutive time. Dharambir won the seat by a margin of over 4.3 lakh votes against Shruti Choudhry, who is the daughter of CLP leader Kiran Choudhry and granddaughter of former Chief Minister late Bansi Lal.

Haryana Congress chief Ashok Tanwar faced second consecutive defeat in general elections on Sirsa Lok Sabha seat. BJP’s Sunita Duggal defeated Tanwar by a margin of over 3 lakh votes

In Chief Minister’s hometurf- Karnal, his confidant and political greenhorn Sanjay Bhatia registered his victory in style recording the highest winning margin of over 6.5 lakh votes in the state. Recording an emphatic victory, Bhatia defeated Congress’ MLA and former Speaker Kuldeep Sharma on Karnal parliamentary seat. 

In Kurukshetra, the land of Mahabharata, the BJP’s Nayab Saini, Minister of State in Haryana Cabinet trounced his closest rival Nirmal Singh of Congress with a margin of 3.8 lakh votes.

Union Minister Birender Singh’s son, Brijendra Singh defeated the outgoing MP and JJP leader Dushyant Chautala on Hisar parliamentary seat. The political greenhorn Brijendra Singh registered a comfortable victory by a margin of more than 3 lakh votes against Dushyant, who is grandson of former Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala while another dynast, Congress’ Bhavya Bishnoi, grandson of former Chief Minister Bhajan Lal finished at third place.

After BJP’s clean sweep in Haryana, Chief Minister Manohar Lal gave credit to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, party president Amit Shah and his government’s pro-people policies in the state.

Accepting defeat, former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda said that it seems the Modi wave has worked for the party. He also congratulated the winning candidate Ramesh Chander Kaushik from Sonipat Lok Sabha seat.

The resounding victory has given the BJP an edge over opposition parties in Haryana, which is due to go to Assembly polls later this year.

In 2014 State Assembly polls, the BJP had created a history by attaining absolute majority on its own. In the 90-member Haryana Assembly, the BJP currently has 48 MLAs.

Political experts feel that the big victory in Haryana is the result of various factors including Modi wave, nationalism plank and strong polarization of non-Jat vote bank. The nationalism rhetoric that the BJP liberally used across the state during campaigning worked well in elections while the Congress’ campaign on allegations on Rafael deal failed to resonate with voters, they say.

While the victory has boosted the morale of BJP leaders and workers, who have already started preparations for State Assembly polls in Haryana, the Congress has suffered a major setback with its prominent leaders failing to  halt the BJP’s juggernaut in Lok Sabha polls, the political analysts say.

In Haryana, the BJP has grown from strength to strength since 2014 Lok Sabha polls. The BJP inflicted a rout on Congress with 47 seats against Congress’ 15 seats in a 90-member House in 2014 Assembly polls. Later on, the saffron party went on to win civic body polls and Jind bypoll in the state narrowing the Congress’ chances of a comeback.

Chief Minister gives credit to Modi and Amit Shah

Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Thursday hailed the BJP-led NDA’s performance in the Lok Sabha polls and gave credit to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government’s pro-people policies for resounding victory.

He also praised party president Amit Shah for NDA’s stupendous show in the Lok Sabha polls.

After the BJP swept Haryana, the Chief Minister, while talking to the mediapersons said that the nationalism has been a major issue in the polls and since early days, it has been a core principle of the BJP. The Congress, however, failed to understand the public sentiment on nationalism and targeted the BJP for raking up the issue, he said.

He said, “I had been maintaining from the beginning that the NDA will win with a comfortable majority and BJP will make a clean sweep in Haryana.”

People fully backed the government for giving a transparent and clean administration, for providing good governance, giving jobs on merit and showing zero tolerance towards corruption, he said.

People of the state have also rejected dynastic and regional politics. In Haryana, it used to be said this area is stronghold of a particular leader and that leader is strong from other area, but we rose above these factors and undertook all-round development with spirit of Haryana ek, Haryavanvi ek and Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, he added.

Asked about former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda’s performance in the polls, he said, “The Congress has paid for its policies, its culture of being self-centric and for its negative campaign.”

Countering opposition’s attack on BJP leaders for seeking votes in Modi's name, he said there was nothing wrong in doing so.

On party’s plan for State Assembly polls, the Chief Minister said that the party has geared up for the assembly elections. We still have four months for the state elections, he added.

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