The BJP will form the government in Haryana. But a number of socio-economic challenges lie ahead
The question that many have been asking — will the Modi magic work in the assembly elections? — has been answered and how with the BJP crossing the halfway mark, enough to form the government on its own. Once again, master political alchemist Amit Shah has produced pure gold for the BJP from an amalgam of seeming dross. The Congress was on a losing wicket in Haryana anyway. It had got just 15 of the 90 seats in the state it has ruled for 10 years. The Bhupinder Singh Hooda government did little to clear its name in the many scams that have taken place under its nose. Mr Hooda has resigned following the results.
The BJP was hampered by the fact that in many instances, its ally the Shiromani Akali Dal was not entirely supportive and that its former ally the Haryana Janhit Congress had peeled off from it earlier. The Indian National Lok Dal with its intrepid leader Om Prakash Chautala made a fervent bid while out on bail to revive the glory days of his father, Devi Lal. But his campaign just did not match the razzmatazz of the BJP, which fired on all cylinders to extend its reach into the heart of Jatland. The Congress has lost yet another bastion, thanks largely to its misrule and indifference to the growing discontent among the people. The central leadership of the Congress did not seem to be in fight mode and barring the odd rally by party president Sonia Gandhi, the party seemed to have conceded defeat even before the first vote was cast. The victory will further boost Narendra Modi’s image as a one-man or, if one were to add Amit Shah, two-man juggernaut. This combination seems to have come up with the magic formula to win elections.
There are more big-ticket elections coming up, including in Jammu and Kashmir. The successes in Maharashtra and Haryana will certainly strike fear among the BJP’s opponents if nothing else. If the Congress does not get itself together now, it is likely to continue its losing streak. The BJP once in power will encounter the powerful khaps in Haryana and their regressive ways of functioning. This will be a real test of how responsibly and effectively it will be able to rein in these self-styled custodians of social norms. And this will only be one of the challenges in this state with its poor social indicators and blighted urban development.