The outcome of the forthcoming Haryana Assembly polls is a foregone conclusion given the internal wrangling within the main opposition party, the Congress, and the caste equations stacked in favour of the BJP.
In the 90-member house, the BJP has 48 members while the Congress has just 17. This is excluding all those who got elected on either the Congress or the INLD tickets but eventually shifted their allegiance to the BJP .
The grand old party had sufficient time and opportunity to revive itself squandered its chances due to internal bickering. Throughout the past five years, instead of coming together when it was faced with a ruthless adversary that was out to pulverise it, the leaders of the party kept fighting one another as was evident from the protest that was held outside Congress chief Sonia Gandhi’s house by supporters of Ashok Tanwar, the former state unit chief of the party.
Tanwar, a Dalit, chosen by Rahul Gandhi to lead the party five years back was not given a free hand, by the AICC, at the instance of Bhupinder Hooda- a two-time chief minister. Just ahead of the polls, Tanwar was replaced by Kumari Selja, also a Dalit, and a member of the Hooda camp. Therefore, those who did all the hard work and who got left out during candidates’ selection refused to lie low and took to the streets.
The return of Hooda to the centre stage of Congress politics clearly proves the hold of the old guard over the party. Absence of new ideas and young blood, in all likelihood, will not bring in the desired results, especially when the opponent is organised and determined.
The Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) led by Om Prakash Chautala has splintered with his progenies fighting over the legacy of the party founder Devi Lal, popularly called ‘Tau’. Ten of the 19 sitting INLD MLAs shifting their allegiance to the BJP has further dented the prospects of the party.
Consolidation of the non-Jat votes has turned out be a game changer for the saffron party. And the party by all means will trod down the same line. That was made amply clear when party supremo Amit Shah declared that the dominance of one-party rule is over. Jats, who constitute around 27 per cent of the electorate have all along ruled the roost. The arrival of Manohar Lal Khattar, the first non-Jat chief minister, to the helm of affairs, proved to be masterstroke for the BJP.
Besides, all the dominant families of Haryana — Chautalas, Bishnois (Bhajan Lal) Hoodas —have all been discredited. And they all are fighting to retain their relevance in state politics and not to return to power.
The BJP also will take advantage of the track record of Khattar and the charisma of Modi to sway the voters. With an eye on the Muslim vote, the saffron party has also given tickets to two Muslim candidates who crossed over from the INLD.
With so many advantages in its kitty, it would take a miracle for the BJP to be defeated in the state.