Khattar back to Modi to win Haryana

Last Updated 05 May 2019, 08:38 IST

Until 2014, the BJP in Haryana had not had any significant victory in any parliamentary seat on its own in decades.

It arguably did not have a wide base of public support. But the dynamics in Jatland altered during the 2014 general elections and in the Assembly polls a few months later, when the saffron party swept through Haryana with a thumping majority all by itself.

Political greenhorns and first-time candidates, like the incumbent Chief Minister M L Khattar, rode to victory and fame as part of the "Modi wave". The 2019 Lok Sabha election will also be fought in Modi's name.

The BJP is packing a combo of claims about Modi's and Khattar's achievements.

However, the BJP is set to beat anti-incumbency in the state by replacing most of its sitting MPs.

The BJP hopes the "Modi magic" and the re-ignited narrative on national security and decisiveness of the NDA rule will work to its advantage.

Haryana accounts for a sizeable number of youths joining the Indian Military Academy (IMA) to become army officers.

Unlike in Punjab, the build-up of the narrative around the BJP's "monopoly over nationalism" after the Pulwama and Balakot air strikes has worked well in Haryana for the saffron party.

Poll positioning and claims of good governance notwithstanding, issues of governance in Haryana leaves much to be desired.

Agriculture and farmer distress, law and order, joblessness, the hopelessness over the SYL canal and the growing divide between the dominant Jats and non-Jat votes in Haryana have given fodder to the Opposition Congress, INLD, AAP and the newly-formed Janata Jananayak Party.

The Opposition is going to town highlighting Khattar's "inefficiencies and failures".

The dominant Jat community is not in favour of the non-Jat Khattar at the helm of affairs. Their demand for reservation remains a distant dream.

The overreach of violence, arson and loot during the ugly Jat quota reservation that paralysed the state for over a week was just one of many failures of the Khattar regime.

The violence and killings of as many as 40 persons in police firing after the conviction of the Dera Sacha Sauda chief is another blemish on Khattar's control of law and order.

The bureaucracy reigns supreme in Jatland. Cases of lynching and violence by self-styled cow vigilante groups have brought disrepute to the incumbents.

BJP's poll arithmetic, however, is simple and aimed at polarising non-Jat votes, who collectively dwarf the dominant Jat votes.

The BJP, on its own, may not host a good show this ensuing polls, but it may enjoy the advantage of having the "doomed" Opposition party INLD that's been split in half and a divided Congress.

(Published 28 March 2019, 13:53 IST)

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