Pacts fail, Haryana set for 5-cornered contest | chandigarh | Hindustan Times
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Pacts fail, Haryana set for 5-cornered contest

The more the merrier? Not really. The four opposition parties in Haryana — the Bharatiya Janata Party, Indian National Lok Dal, Haryana Janhit Congress (BL) and the Bahujan Samaj Party — preferred a front to stop the Congress juggernaut in the October 13 assembly elections.

chandigarh Updated: Sep 22, 2009 00:58 IST
Navneet Sharma

The more the merrier? Not really.

The four opposition parties in Haryana — the Bharatiya Janata Party, Indian National Lok Dal, Haryana Janhit Congress (BL) and the Bahujan Samaj Party — preferred a front to stop the Congress juggernaut in the October 13 assembly elections.

But they could not settle the terms, deciding to be on their own in the end. The result: a five-cornered contest, which may work to the advantage of the ruling Congress.

Here is a quick look at the five main parties in the fray.

Congress: No incumbent party has ever been so sure-footed going into the assembly polls in the state. Led by chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda (62), it won nine of the 10 seats in the Lok Sabha elections. What appear to be working for the party are that there is no anti-incumbency ire, disarray in the opposition and the please-all sops. But the internal bickering, which came to the fore at the time of the Lok Sabha polls, has intensified further.

Indian National Lok Dal: Former chief minister and party president Om Prakash Chautala (74) has faced electoral setbacks before. But it has never been this bad. The party has not won a single election — two Lok Sabha poll in 2004 and 2009 and the assembly elections in 2005 — in six years.

Bharatiya Janata Party: It first snapped ties with the INLD and then held matchmaking sessions with Bhajan Lal’s Haryana Janhit Congress (BL), but decided to stay single in the end. The party has, historically, done well when allied with a local partner. In the 1991 assembly elections, the BJP alone won just two seats, while it formed government with the Haryana Vikas Party in 1996 and with the INLD in 2000.

Haryana Janhit Congress (BL): Party president and former MP Kuldeep Bishnoi (41), younger son of former chief minister Bhajan Lal (79) floated his own party just 18 months ago. The party did well in three by-elections last year and then denied a clean sweep to the Congress by winning Hisar in the Lok Sabha polls. But it has been rocked by indiscipline and desertions in recent months.

Bahujan Samaj Party: The party has essentially been a vote splitter. It sprung a surprise with a sharp jump in its vote share in the Lok Sabha polls by getting 15.73 per cent votes against 4.98 per cent in 2004. But many Lok Sabha candidates have deserted in recent weeks.