With just two seats, the Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC) has been restricted to just the Hisar district, prompting political observers to claim that the party has lost its political relevance. Party president Kuldeep Bishnoi and his wife Renuka Bishnoi were the only winners for the party from Adampur and Hansi seats, respectively, their homes district of Hisar.
Bishnoi’s controversial elder brother and five-time legislator from Kalka Chander Mohan and his first cousin and ex-Congress legislator also lost their elections from Nalwa and Fatehebad segments, respectively.
Venod Sharma, president of Haryana Jan Chetna party, the HJC’s ally, and once a powerful minister in the Bhupinder Singh Hooda government, has lost badly to the first-time candidate Aseem Goyal of the BJP in Ambala City seat. The alliance was seen as a political front working to consolidate non-Jat leadership but lack of ability and credibility seemed to the major factors behind defeat.
Born out of infighting in the Congress, the party was floated in 2007 by Kuldeep Bishnoi, younger son of former Congress chief minister late Bhajan Lal.
In its maiden Lok Sabha elections in 2009, the HJC secured 9.89% votes by fielding Ahir candidates in Mahendergarh and Gurgaon, Punjabi candidates in Faridabad, Karnal and Kurukshetra, and a Balmiki candidate in the Ambala segment. Bhajan Lal was the lone HJC candidate to win a Lok Sabha seat (Hisar).
After his death in 2011, Bishnoi had won the by-election. In the 2009 elections, HJC won six seats, but of them five defected to the Congress. All of these MLAs were disqualified by the Punjab and Haryana high court recently.
Alliances that failed
HJC had an alliance with the BJP and Bishnoi was projected as the chief ministerial candidate. HJC-BJP alliance fought the recent Lok Sabha elections and its outcome did impact the political scenario.
Bishnoi lost both seats it was allotted under the alliance formula and with the BJP’s thumping performance in the country, including Haryana, the alliance broke-up. Now, Bishnoi had to strike a political deal with Venod Sharma’s newly floated party but it has sunk miserably.
Observers said political immaturity of Bishnoi and lack of leadership led the voters to reject his politics. “Non-Jat voters of Haryana were looking for an alternative to handle the Jat leadership, which is at helm of affairs in the state since in 1966. Bishnoi and Venod were trying to cash on the non-Jat sentiment but failed,” said an analyst.
“The strategy of the BJP gave an impression that power would be given to non-jat leadership, which may have led voters to go its way. Modi’s charisma added another flavor,” said another observer.