The Congress that released its list of 90 candidates for the Haryana assembly elections on Wednesday night concentrated on giving a majority of tickets to Jats, Jat Sikhs, Gujjars and a particular class among the Scheduled Castes as a part of their electoral strategy.
The party has given 31 tickets to Jats, including four Jat Sikh candidates. In all, five Sikhs have been fielded by the party which points to the confidence the party has in reaping political benefit out of the formation of a separate Sikh gurdwara management committee for Haryana. The Jat and Jat Sikh candidates fielded by the party too have been spread out across the state with at least six candidates being fielded in the northern Haryana belt.
The Congress has allocated tickets to eight Gujjar candidates, a pretty high number unmatched by the rival parties in Haryana. This has been done to consolidate the Gujjar votebank and offset any loss caused by disenchantment of Ahir voters.
Among the Scheduled Castes, a lion’s share of 12 tickets has been given to candidates from the Chamar community, while the remaining five have gone to Balmikis, Dhanak and Baazigar castes.
Clearly, the party is trying to play to its strength by mollifying the Chamar voter and propping them up. The party has fielded three candidates from backward classes (category A), two from the Kamboj community and one from the Kumhar community. A majority of its backward class candidates are from category B, including Gujjars, Ahirs, Meos and Saini.
The decision to field a Kamboj from Ambala City assembly constituency seems to be aimed at consolidating the Kamboj voters in the nearby areas of Shahbad, Pehowa and Kalayat.
The surprise in the list is that the party has given only five seats each to Brahmins and Banias which indicates that it expects a shift by the two communities towards the BJP. Four tickets have been given to candidates from the Meo Muslim community in Nuh, Ferozepur Jhirka, Punhana and Hathin, while six tickets have been given to Ahir candidates.