Supporters of BJP candidate from Gharaunda, Harvinder Singh Kalyan celebrate his win in the Assembly election in Karnal on Thursday.(Photo: PTI)
Supporters of BJP candidate from Gharaunda, Harvinder Singh Kalyan celebrate his win in the Assembly election in Karnal on Thursday.(Photo: PTI)

Anti-incumbency, tactical voting by Jats stopped BJP juggernaut

The consolidation of Jats in favour of the Congress and the JJP hurt the BJP a lot as only five Jat candidates fielded by it made it to the assembly
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | By Hitender Rao
UPDATED ON OCT 25, 2019 05:14 AM IST

Chandigarh An anti-incumbency undercurrent and tactical voting by the Jats in favour of the Congress and JJP candidates stopped the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) juggernaut in Haryana from reaching the magical 46-seat mark to get a simple majority in the 90 member state assembly. Analysts say the BJP performed poorly because it failed to gauge the anti-incumbency undercurrent in its euphoria of the Lok Sabha win.

While its vote share this time has gone up to about 36% from about 33% in 2014, the BJP won only 40 seats against 47 in 2014.

The consolidation of Jats in favour of the Congress and the JJP hurt the BJP a lot as only five Jat candidates fielded by it made it to the assembly. The BJP had fielded 20 Jat candidates this time, a reduction of four since 2014 elections.

As had happened in 2014 assembly polls, the BJP won a lion’s share of seats in northern Haryana winning 14 of the 27 seats spread over seven districts of Panchkula, Ambala, Yamunanagar, Kurukshetra, Kaithal, Karnal and Panipat. But it was way short of its 2014 tally of 22 seats in the north.

Its 2014 tally of 11 seats from the Ahirwal districts of Gurgaon, Rewari and Mahendragarh also fell down to eight this time. However, the party won 18 seats in southern Haryana comprising Ahirwal districts, Faridabad, Palwal, Mewat, Bhiwani and Charkhi Dadri as compared to 17 seats in 2014.

The saffron party won three seats in central Haryana districts of Sonepat, Rohtak, Jind and Jhajjar against five it won in 2014. It registered wins in five northwestern districts of Hisar , Fatehabad and Sirsa as against three it won in 2014.

The results came as a bolt from the blue for the saffron party. All the contesting ministers except Anil Vij and Banwari Lal lost the polls. Heavyweights like Capt Abhimanyu, Ram Bilas Sharma, Om Prakash Dhankar, Krishan Lal Panwar, Kavita Jain, Krishan Kumar Bedi were handed out crushing defeats by the electorate while two other ministers Manish Grover and Karan Dev Kamboj lost by slender margins. The win of chief minister ML Khattar by over 45,000 votes, Banwari Lal by over 32,000 votes and Anil Vij by over 20,000 votes were the only saving grace. The state BJP chief Subhash Barala too lost by a hefty margin.

Prof Ashutosh Kumar of political science department, Panjab University, Chandigarh, said that it is a great failure on the part of the BJP. “They came down from leading in 79 assembly segments in Lok Sabha to almost half.” Prof Kumar said there are lessons for the BJP in this humiliating performance.” The BJP should not take the Jats, the dominant community in the state, for granted. They should now try to shed its anti-Jat image.They should also understand that economic issues, issues of local importance cannot be overlooked by a party in the power. They heavily relied on Modi’s charisma and by raking national issues like abrogation of Article 370. Most of their ministers lost. This does not reflect well on the BJP’s governance model in Haryana,’’ he said.

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