The Bharatiya Janata Party may have failed to project any candidate for the chief minister's post in the run-up to the Haryana assembly polls but the party is not short of names for the top post.
The BJP, which is going to form the government on its own in the state for the first time after getting a clear mandate in the results Sunday, has over half a dozen top leaders in contention for the chief minister's post. Some of them, who were contesting the assembly polls, have won their respective seats.
The names doing rounds include RSS activist Manohar Lal Khattar, state BJP president Ram Bilas Sharma and BJP spokesperson Abhimanyu. Other names are leaders who did not contest including union ministers Sushma Swaraj, Rao Inderjit Singh and Krishan Pal. Congressman-turned-BJP leader Birender Singh is also in the running.
With the BJP winning many seats in north Haryana, especially in the G.T. Road (Grand Trunk Road) belt, Khattar is said to be a strong contender for the post.
Just scraping through!
While a BJP candidate from the Gurgaon assembly seat, Umesh Aggarwal, notched up a victory margin of over 84,000 votes, a Congress candidate managed to win his seat by a margin of just three votes.
Congress candidate Jai Tirath won by just three votes over Inderjeet of the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) in the Rai assembly seat in Sonipat district.
At least five other candidates had victory margins of less than 1,000 votes in the results of 90 assembly seats declared Sunday.
Unlucky BJP candidate!
While the BJP catapulted itself from four seats in the 2009 assembly polls to 47 seats this time - a nearly 12-fold jump, riding on the popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, one BJP candidate ended up losing his security deposit.
The BJP candidate from Tosham assembly seat, Gunpal, got only 1,822 votes and finished a poor sixth. This led to his security deposit being forfeited. He is the only BJP candidate to have suffered this political humiliation.
Congress candidate Kiran Chaudhary, a senior minister in the outgoing Bhupinder Singh Hooda government, got over 58,000 votes to win the seat.
Geeta Bhukal breaks jinx!
While some ministers in the outgoing Bhupinder Singh Hooda government lost their assembly seats, Education Minister Geeta Bhukkal was able to break a myth associated with her predecessors in the state.
There is a myth in the state that whoever remains education minister in the state generally loses in the next election. But Bhukkal has reversed the trend by winning with a margin of over 26,500 votes.
New outfits fail to make impact!
New wannabe parties Haryana Jan Chetna Party (HJCP) and the Haryana Lokhit Party (HLP), which were floated just before the assembly polls, had to bite dust in the election results. Both parties were floated by people who had remained powerful in the Hooda government.
While the HJCP was floated by former union minister Venod Sharma, who remained the closest confidant of Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda for nine years (March 2005 till March 2014), the HLP was floated by controversial former minister Gopal Kanda. The later remained a minister in the Hooda government before he was forced to quit and was arrested for his involvement in the abetment to suicide case of an air-hostess.
Both parties drew a complete blank with Sharma and Kanda losing themselves too. While Sharma's wife Shakti Rani lost too, Kanda's brother, Gobind Kanda, was also defeated.