Haryana election rolls over regional party flavour

Haryana election rolls over regional party flavour

Abhay Singh Chautala, MLA of Haryanna from INLD party

As one travels across the hinterland in Haryana, the flavour of regional parties appears gravely fragmented, rather arguably missing from the political spectrum this election.

The ascend of the saffron party has pushed even the principal opposition party, the Chautala-led Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) to the wall. Elections in the past have always seen sizable footprints of regional parties acting as formidable contenders to mainstream political parties of the Congress and the BJP.

This time though, their penetration and appeal among masses appears ostensible, rather bereft of a popular connect at the grass root level that once existed. At least three prominent regional parties have dominated and formed governments in Haryana in the past. Yet, this is the first elections when regional parties may arguably face a rout.

So, what has affected this altering political landscape in Jatland? Among other reasons, experts opine that a leadership crisis among regional players is to be blamed for their falling stock. This fast emerging vacuum of leadership triggered a crisis that spiraled out of control for regional parties.

The void was compensated by a decisive leadership provided by the BJP in the last five years. Regional parties in Haryana also failed to reinvent themselves in the face of an ever more aware electorate who sought beyond just the focus on mere regional issues.  

Notwithstanding fringe outfits, the INLD as a dominant regional party commanded sizable influence in Jatland polity. Its cadre remained dedicated despite the party being out of power in Haryana for some time now. This regional outfit was the principal opposition party in the Vidhan Sabha in 2014. Its vote share was an encouraging over 24%, just about 9% less than the BJP that formed the government.

Yet, all this laurel of sorts has vanished. The party split, owing to a family feud between the Chautala brother, led to this regional party fighting an existential crisis. The JJP, cared out of the INLD, is yet to prove its electoral worth.    

Elections arguably aren’t anymore a frilly affair, like in the past when buntings and flags strung between electricity poles and posters, painted graffiti defaced walls and local environs. Public gatherings, village assemblies, fervor of the cadre among other appear new denominators that help political outfits have an ear to the ground. The cadre of regional parties in Haryana appear demoralized, its leaders have turned turn coats and the outcome perhaps will be on expected lines.   

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