HT Explains: A 5-point FAQ on the Lok Sabha battle in Haryana | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

HT Explains: A 5-point FAQ on the Lok Sabha battle in Haryana

May 18, 2024 06:28 PM IST

The BJP is unlikely to repeat its 2019 Lok Sabha election performance of winning all 10 seats with a vote share of 58% in Haryana

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been in power for two consecutive terms in Haryana since October 2014. It was a marginal player in the state before it swept the 2014 Lok Sabha polls by winning seven of the 10 seats with a 34.8% vote share. Since then, the party has been a dominant force in the state. Here are the five questions that will matter in deciding the 2024 Lok Sabha contest in Haryana:

Former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda has led the Congress’s campaign. (HT PHOTO)
Former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda has led the Congress’s campaign. (HT PHOTO)

Can the BJP overcome 10-year anti-incumbency?

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The party is unlikely to repeat its 2019 Lok Sabha poll performance of winning all 10 seats with a vote share of 58%. It faces anti-incumbency in both urban and rural areas. The BJP’s gambit of replacing Manohar Lal Khattar as chief minister after over nine years with Naib Singh Saini, an Other Backward Class face, two months before the Lok Sabha polls was meant to partly to buck the anti-incumbency trend. However, it may not have the desired results. The withdrawal of the support of three Independent lawmakers to the Saini government and their backing of the opposition Congress made for bad optics for the BJP amid the election.

Can the Congress overcome the factionalism to bounce back?

Going by an unexpectedly smooth Lok Sabha ticket distribution, the Congress’s balancing act seems to have brought a truce between the warring factions of former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and his detractors Randeep Hooda, Kumari Selja and Kiran Chaudhary. The choice of candidates is seemingly based on merit and winnability this time. Hooda, who played a key role in ticket selection, is leading the party’s campaign. Riding on a groundswell of support for change, the Congress appears on a rebound and is poised to do better than its 2019 tally of zero.

Will the BJP gain from the Modi factor and social coalition?

The BJP can count on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s popularity, its time-tested trump card since 2014, to shore up its prospects. Consolidation of the non-Jats may not pay it the same dividends as in the last elections. The BJP’s hard sell on the benefits of having the same party in power at the Centre and in the state now has diminishing returns. Its strategy of forging a social coalition of Punjabis, Brahmins, and other upper castes and Dalits may not work. The Dalits appear to gravitating towards the Congress which has fielded only two Jat candidates to defeat BJP’s polarisation plans.

What is in store for the Jannayak Janata Party (JJP) and Indian National Lok Dal (INLD)?

Led by the members of the Chaudhary Devi Lal’s family, both JJP and INLD are fighting a stay afloat. INLD, led by aging patriarch Om Prakash Chautala, is only a fringe player. JJP forged a post-2019 assembly poll tie-up with the BJP to form the government. It was ousted from power on March 12. JJP has since suffered a rebellion of at least seven of its 10 assembly members against the party chief Dushyant Chautala. In the wake of protests from farmers, which it claims to be its core base, JJP will find it hard to make much impact in the Lok Sabha and subsequent assembly polls this year.

How will the outcome of the Lok Sabha polls influence the assembly elections due in October?

The outcome can make or break BJP’s prospects of returning to power for a third time. The 58.21% vote share of the BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha in Haryana came down to 36.49% in assembly polls a few months later. The BJP, which won all 10 Lok Sabha seats in the state with leads in 79 assembly segments, could only get 40 of the 90 seats in the assembly polls. Saini is contesting an assembly by-poll and Khattar his first Lok Sabha election. The outcome will also decide the trajectories of their political careers.

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