With a plan to win over the influential Jat community, which accounts for about 25% of Haryana’s electorate, the BJP has apportioned 25 tickets to Jat candidates but has also tried to strike a balance by placating other communities well in its ticket distribution for the upcoming Haryana assembly polls.
Interestingly, the lion’s share of tickets to Jat candidates has gone to the Congress and Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) deserters who accounted for 19 tickets while only six Jat candidates have been fielded by the BJP from its own ranks.
But BJP’s tactics of according importance to the Jats has another side also. The party has strategically fielded only one Jat candidate, Mahipal Dhanda (Panipat rural) in the northern part of the state spanning three Lok Sabha constituencies of Ambala, Kurukshetra and Karnal despite the fact that there are several assembly constituencies having Jats in substantial numbers. However, sensing a fair amount of resentment in this belt against continuous rule of a Jat chief minister since 1996, the BJP has deliberately chosen candidates from other communities in this area.
On the southern part of the state also, the BJP has fielded just two Jats — Harsh Kumar (Hathin) and Yashvir Dagar (Faridabad NIT).
Most of the Jat candidates fielded by the BJP are in fact in the Jat heartland of Bhiwani, Hisar, Jind, Sonepat and Sirsa where they will be involved in rather aggressive contests with other Jat candidates.
The party though has not fielded former Congress stalwart, Birender Singh, it has nevertheless accommodated three Jats of his choice from Julana, Gohana and Beri besides Singh’s wife from Uchana Kalan and two non Jats from Narwana and Kalayat. In so doing, the BJP has tried to attach some sort of importance to the only Jat leader of stature in its fold.
MESSAGE IS CLEAR
While on one hand the BJP has tried to woo the Jats, it has also tried to convey to the non-Jat communities an implicit message – they are central to their plans to do well in the polls.
In accommodating non-Jat communities, the party has given nine tickets to candidates from Brahmin community, eight to Bania community, seven to Punjabis, six to Ahirs, four to Rajputs, three to
Gujjars and two each to Rors and Meo Muslim communities.
The party has also tried to play to its strength by allocating tickets to candidates from backward classes and Scheduled Castes. Among the backward classes (BC), the BJP has given just two tickets those from BC (category A) – Krishan Dev Kamboj (Indri) and Karan Singh Ranauliya (Adampur) while candidates from BC (B category) having Ahirs, Gujjars, Sainis and Meos have cornered most of the backward class quota tickets.
Among the Scheduled Caste candidates picked for 17 reserved constituencies, the BJP has given about seven tickets to candidates from Chamar caste while Balmikis and Dhanaks have got the major share.