BJP makes history with clear mandate

BJP makes history with clear mandate

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Sunday made history by winning Haryana elections with a clear majority for the first time, trouncing the Congress which had been in power for the last 10 years in the state.

With 47 seats, the saffron party will form the government on its own without an alliance for the first time in the state’s electoral history. The BJP, a party that was struggling with a voter base of just about 9 per cent till five years ago, managed over 33.2 per cent vote share independently in the 2014 Assembly elections.

The turnaround in the BJP electoral prospects is being largely attributed to the spillover effect of the “Modi wave” that continued to prevail over the electorate in this election.
The Modi-centric BJP campaign led to a huge polarisation of the urban votes that turned the tide to its advantage. The split in the majority Jat votes, too, helped the BJP.

The Congress did not gain anything from its strategy of winning Sikhs’ favour by enacting a separate panel to manage a Sikh shrine in Haryana.

The electorate, for the first time, saw the BJP as an alternative beyond traditional arch-rivals– the Congress and the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD). Facing a strong anti-incumbency wave and controversies over “shady” land deals, the Congress under Bhupinder Singh Hooda suffered a crushing defeat even as Hooda managed to retain his own seat.

The party’s tally dropped from 40 seats to just 15 on Sunday when results were announced. One interesting part of the result was the defeat of Vandana Sharma, the sister of Union Minister Sushma Swaraj, despite the evident Modi effect. She lost to an independent Jasbir Deshwal from Safidon.

The INLD, which is the principal opposition party in Haryana, also suffered a huge setback at the hands of the BJP. The INLD bagged 19 seats, down from 31 in 2009. The defeat of the INLD puts a question mark on the relevance of the party which has been out of power for 10 years now.

The party’s gamble of playing the sympathy card in the name of its jailed leader and former chief minister Om Prakash Chautala also flopped. Besides the setback, its top leaders, including youngest MP and Chautala’s grandson Dushyant Chautala and party’s state president Ashok Arora, lost their seats.

The Haryana Janhit Congress (Bhajan Lal) led by its chief Kuldeep Bishnoi was another party clearly rejected by the electorate. The party had joined hands with the Lok Jan Shakti Party patronised by former Congress stalwart Vinod Sharma, who is also the father of Manu Sharma, convicted in the infamous Jassica Lal murder case. The alliance won just two seats, that of Bishnoi and his wife, Renuka.

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