Cut down to size, the Congress which ruled Haryana successively since 2005 finished third on Sunday behind Om Prakash Chautala’s Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), getting a mere 15 seats in the 2014 assembly polls. The drubbing aside, a more worrying aspect for the party, which was battling a strong anti-incumbency sentiment is its steadily dipping vote share in the state.
While in the 2009 assembly polls, the Congress got a vote share of 35.1%, it went down to 22.9% in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. The vote share has fallen further by 2% in the current assembly polls and now stands at 20.6%. The party, which was not only hit hard by the anti-incumbency sentiment but also accused of indulging in regional bias in terms of development and employment, was completely wiped out in the northern and southern parts of the state. In fact, it registered wins in only six districts of the state.
The Congress, which won 40 seats in 2009, performing reasonably well in several districts of the state has primarily been confined to Rohtak, Sonepat and Jhajjar districts — the strongholds of chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, this time.
In the three districts, the party has won 10 out of its overall tally of 15. The party won Meham, Garhi-Sampla Kiloi, Kalanaur seats in Rohtak district, Ganaur, Rai, Kharkhauda, Gohana and Baroda in Sonepat district and Jhajjar and Beri seats in Jhajjar. However, even in these strongholds there are indicators of concern as the BJP seems to have made some inroads here also. The saffron party wrested the Rohtak, Bahadurgarh, Badli and Sonepat assembly seats in Hooda’s bastion.
The Congress probably surprised everyone by winning two seats in Palwal district (Hodal and Palwal) and one in Faridabad district (Tigaon).
On the northern and southern sides of the state, the party could win a seat each only – Kaithal (Randeep Singh Surjewala) and Tosham (Kiran Choudhry) registering emphatic wins. However, all these five wins are largely being attributed to the personal charisma and strength of the respective candidates. Only 12 out of the 32 sitting MLAs fielded by the party could win this time.