The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won a resounding victory in Haryana on Sunday with an absolute majority of 47 seats in the 90-member assembly, putting it on course to form the party’s first government in the state on its own.
The party cashed in on the strong anti-Jat sentiment after 18 years of successive Jat chief ministers in the state, where the BJP has until now only been a junior partner in the Haryana Vikas Party (HVP) and Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) governments.
The BJP is expected to put forward a non-Jat leader’s name for the next chief minister of Haryana. Among the frontrunners for the top post are state BJP chief and senior leader Ram Bilas Sharma, 66, and sangh pracharak from Rohtak, Manohar Lal Khattar, 60, who won his debut election from Karnal with a huge.
BJP sources said among the people being considered for cabinet positions were Ambala Cantt MLA Anil Vij, Narnaund MLA Capt Abhimanyu, Badshahpur MLA Rao Narbir Singh and Panchkula MLA Gian Chand Gupta.
Until now, the BJP was a fringe player in Haryana, with just four seats in the previous assembly. It relied on regional entities such as the late Bansi Lal’s HVP and Om Prakash Chautala’s INLD.
The BJP’s aggressive campaigning against political dynasties got a mixed response as the older sons of former chief ministers Bhajan Lal and Bansi Lal lost their seats but most members of the INLD clan managed to win in spite of their party's poor performance.
The dreams of the main opposition INLD, which was seeking to return to power after a decade of wilderness, were dashed, but two of three members of the Om Prakash Chautala family won their seats.
While senior INLD leader Abhay Singh Chautala won from Ellenabad, senior leader Ajay Singh Chautala’s wife, Naina, won from Dabwali. She is the first woman from the Devi Lal clan to have contested the polls.
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However, Dushyant Chautala, the INLD's Hisar MP and grandson of former chief minister Om Prakash Chautala, lost to the BJP’s Prem Lata Singh, the wife of senior saffron party leader Birender Singh, who defeated him from Uchana Kalan.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other BJP leaders, including party chief Amit Shah, had aggressively campaigned in Haryana in the run-up to the polls, asking the voters to put an end to the rule of political dynasties in the state.
The party virtually swept the northern and southern parts of Haryana with 32 seats. The saffron wave was evident in the northern parts from Panchkula district to Panipat district, where the BJP candidates won 21 seats. In southern Haryana, it won 11 seats falling in Gurgaon, Rewari and Mahendergarh districts.
The party’s performance in the Jat heartland of Jind, Hisar, Rohtak, Sonepat, Bhiwani, however, was not impressive. Of the 25 Jat candidates fielded by the party, only six could win.
(with agency inputs)
Full coverage: Maharashtra, Haryana assembly elections