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After Delhi, AAP turns its eyes on Haryana

india Updated: Jan 13, 2014 14:34 IST
Hitender Rao
Hitender Rao
Hindustan Times
khap land

After Delhi, is it the turn of Haryana to go the AAP way? After the soft-spoken Arvind Kejriwal, is it the turn of pollster and TV warrior Yogendra Yadav to win the next ballot war?

It seems the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is throwing up one surprise after another – in a chain of strategic decisions – to make room for its already spreading wings.

The AAP’s plan to capture Delhi’s bordering state Haryana with Yadav, who is from the state, like Kejriwal, spearheading the mission will have at least one definite fallout: Both in the Lok Sabha and assembly elections, it’s going to be a bloody four-way fight.

And ethics, more than family history, will be kept in mind while pressing the all-important button. At least, it looks like every inch of political space will be hard fought by the Congress, the BJP and the Bhajan Lal-led Haryana Janhit Congress combine, the Indian National Lok Dal of the Chautalas and, of course, the AAP.

While the Congress and the HJC-BJP have a strong presence in the urban areas, that of the INLD is in villages – courtesy the redoubtable Chaudhary Devi Lal. But old equations can stop making much sense this time.

How? “As the AAP will cut into the vote bank of every political party, the HJC-BJP will probably be the most affected. And the Congress, which is fighting anti-incumbency, will also be impacted adversely,” said a former professor of political science at Kurukshetra University, Ranbir Singh.

Although BJP leader Kishan Pal Gurjar said the AAP would hit only the Congress in Haryana as it did in Delhi, Singh said with the AAP’s entry, the HJC-BJP combine might have to take a big hit.

The reason: The non-Jat voter, who so far voted for the HJC-BJP, will have a strong alternative to choose from.

Plus, Singh said, since the AAP had been trying very hard to make inroads into the rural areas, the INLD too could hardly ignore it.

What is making the AAP click in Haryana? Singh said, “The AAP appears to be a party with a difference. This is one big factor which has caught the fancy of the public at large.”

But the situation on the ground could finally turn out to be very different. Said Congress leader and state minister Randeep Singh Surjewala: “We will go back to the people on the strength of our work and our forward-looking agenda.”

The beleaguered INLD – whose top leaders Om Prakash Chautala and his son Ajay are behind bars in the teacher recruitment scam – is questioning the poll planks of the AAP.

Om Prakash’s younger son, Abhay Singh, who is holding the fort, said all that the AAP promised to the Haryana voter had been given to the people more than three decades ago by his grandfather, Chaudhary Devi Lal.

“Chaudhary Devi Lal had written off outstanding electricity arrears at a time when farmers were committing suicide in Haryana. And the old-age pension started by Chaudhary Devi Lal was replicated by every other political party in the country.”

With parties telling themselves – and their supporters, of course – that the AAP scourge will destroy the enemy and leave them untouched, it all depends on how the AAP convinces the rural voter that he needs a corruption-free system.