A multi-cornered contest is in the offing for the 90 assembly seats in Haryana with six parties, the Congress, Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), BJP, HJC-HJCP combine, BSP and Haryana Lokhit Party (HLP), battling it out.
A tentative analysis of seatwise contests after the filing of nominations suggest that the three political majors, the Congress, BJP and INLD, each are essentially in contest on 45 to 55 seats.
In other words, it means though these parties have fielded candidates for all 90 seats, their prospects of doing well are on a lesser number of seats.While the situation may alter once campaigning picks up, the provisional analysis hints at the possibility of a split verdict.
SAFFRON PARTY STRUGGLING
The situation on the ground also looks fluid. The BJP whose resurgence in Haryana after a superb Lok Sabha outing and subsequent ensnaring of disgruntled Congress and INLD leaders had positioned them as a major challenger to the Congress and the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) seems to be struggling now. The saffron party has been hit by internal strife after it preferred Congress and INLD turncoats over party workers for tickets in several constituencies.
The BJP also could not find credible Jat faces from its own ranks which is evident from the fact of the 25 Jat candidates fielded by the saffron party, 19 tickets were given to Congress and INLD deserters.
The BJP’s over reliance on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party chief Amit Shah could also prove to be its undoing. In fact, there is a fair amount of concern in the party cadres after Shah’s two-day tour of Haryana evoked a rather tepid response. The party is now betting on Modi’s rallies. INLD BANKING ON CHAUTALA CHARISMA
Om Prakash Chautala’s INLD, which is looking upbeat after his appearance at a rally in Jind a few days ago, banks heavily on the charisma of the former chief minister. The INLD is probably going through its worst phase after the sentencing of Chautala and his elder son, Ajay Singh, for 10 years in the JBT teachers’ recruitment scam. While his incarceration has affected the morale of INLD cadres, his being there will certainly galvanise the party workers.
Chautala, who is out on medical bail,tested waters by attending a political function to mark the birth centenary of his father and former deputy PM Devi Lal. It remains to be seen whether he will be able to comprehensively campaign for the party. His presence during the campaign could prove to be a decisive factor as it may substantially polarise the Jat votebank.
CONG FIGHTS INFIGHTING, ANTI-INCUMBENCY
The ruling Congress, which looked in a shambles after the Lok Sabha debacle, is trying to get its act together on the strength of slew of sops it has offered to various sections of society, virtually draining the exchequer. Nine years of anti-incumbency apart, the Congress has been hit harder by a series of desertions and incessant infighting which may culminate in sabotage.
Chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and state Congress chief Ashok Tanwar have sparred over the choice of candidates for the polls. Moreover, by retaining about 33 sitting MLAs as candidates will not help the party’s cause in trying to get over the anti-incumbency sentiment.