The split between Kuldeep Bishnoi’s Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC) and the BJP following an acrimonious innings in the past six months has serious political ramifications for both parties.
The two allies in their own ways had been projecting themselves as a workable alternative to the non-Jat communities speckled across the state. Bishnoi is the son of former Haryana chief minister Bhajan Lal, the most influential non-Jat chief minister in the state.
The BJP also knows the prevailing anti-Congress sentiment and is trying hard to wean away Jat leaders of the Congress and Indian National Lok Dal (INLD). Refraining from naming its chief ministerial candidate, the party has left the guessing game to analysts.
Political analysts say the BJP-HJC combine would have been ideal to attract non-Jat voters, but the break-up will mean a split in the vote-bank. “The break-up has created another entity in a multi- cornered contest, which could perplex the non-Jat voter,’’ said a BJP supporter.
The BJP, never considered a contender in Haryana until the general election, when it won seven of the eight seats it contested in the state, is harbouring ambitions of forming the next government on its own. Its smugness also has to do with the HJC’s poor performance in the Lok Sabha polls, where it lost both the seats it contested.
Some in the party were initially apprehensive that a break-up would split anti-Jat votes, benefitting the ruling Congress and the INLD, but encouraging ground reports and a crossover by several Jat leaders from the INLD prompted it to go for the polls alone.
Party spokesman Syed Shahnawaz Hussain was confident that the BJP will form the next government in Haryana and said Bishnoi was “delusional” if he thought he would become chief minister.
“He is a general without an army,” said Hussain. “He did not have candidates for two Lok Sabha seats. Where would he get people to fight Assembly polls? And he has a delusion of becoming chief minister.”