Equations in Haryana politics are poised for a drastic change as new entrants are ready to make their presence felt in the upcoming assembly elections while old players struggle to retain their place.
The all-crucial polls may take place earlier than in October as announced by chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda.
While the Congress is at an all-time low, the BJP is certainly on the rise here, springing into the mainstream after being on the periphery of state politics for decades. Though the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) failed to make a mark in the general elections, it cannot be written off so easily.
Also, the future of Haryana Janahit Congress (HJC) (BL) president Kuldeep Bishnoi, who had started being seen as the rallying point of non-Jat politics, is as of now uncertain after his defeat.
Moreover, the tainted former Haryana minister Gopal Kanda’s newly launched outfit, Haryana Lokhit Party (HLP), may act as spoilsport for others in several seats.
Given their massive success, BJP leaders from the state are looking at a straight contest with the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) in the assembly polls.
“The people have removed the Congress from the country and the state. As the people are in a mood to vote for development and against corruption, the BJP will fight the elections on these planks and surely come to power in Haryana. As the results so far say, the contest will be a straight one with the INLD,” said BJP national general secretary Sudha Yadav.
However, the Congress is not considering these elections as any indicator of what’s going to happen in the state elections, which its spokesperson said would be fought on local and not national issues.
Putting up a brave front, party spokesperson Jitendra Bhardwaj said, “These Lok Sabha elections were contested amid communally charged atmosphere created by Modi and the BJP. But assembly elections will be fought on local issues and against the local leadership of the BJP which is non-existent. The fight will be primarily between the Congress and the INLD with the BJP as a fringe factor.”
Meanwhile, the party which both the BJP and the Congress believe will give them a run for their money in the state polls is in quite solid a ground as of now.
Though not a spectacular performance by any standards, the INLD has belied all speculations and managed a lease of life given the virtual absence of leadership.
What holds out hope for the party in the assembly elections is that while it managed to bag just two seats in the Lok Sabha, including that of Chautala family scion Dushyant, it ended as the runner-up in two seats and at the third spot in five others. Political observers in the state are of the opinion that once local issues take the forefront, the party might again spring to life.
“Our victories in two Lok Sabha seats are significant as we defeated two party presidents - Congress state unit president Ashok Tanwar in Sirsa and HJC’s president Kuldeep Bishnoi in Hisar,” said a INLD press release. The party will be holding a review meeting to chart out future strategy at Panipat on Monday.
The AAP, though battered this time, is not ready to go down without a fight in the assembly elections. The party might do better in the state, say experts, as now it has got an insight into the Haryana electorate.
Party candidate Yogendra Yadav is planning to move to Gurgaon to focus on the future. “These elections have given us a peek into Haryana politics and given us a strong volunteer base throughout the state, which would help us in the upcoming elections. Further it has taught us what to do and what not to,” Yadav said.