Desertions act as weathercock in poll-bound Haryana

Last Updated 26 September 2019, 05:39 IST

If desertions of prominent political personalities in Haryana ahead of the polls are anything to go buy, it looks like the BJP is set to win the election hands down.

Haryana’s prominent Opposition party, the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), and other political outfits have been racked by a series of desertions in the run-up to the Assembly polls, adding heft to the BJP's poll line-up.

More than three dozen prominent leaders, including sitting MLAs, have joined the BJP fold.

Among the Opposition parties, the INLD is the worst-hit. As chances of rapprochement between the estranged Chautala brothers now appear remote, the looming Assembly elections threaten the party with an existential crisis.

Party sources said attempts by former Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal and the all-powerful Khaps to broker peace cut no ice with the warring factions. Both the INLD and its breakaway faction, the JJP, now stand to lose whatever is left of their respective outfits, in the face of a fortified BJP.

The INLD's position as principal Opposition, with a tally of 19 MLAs in 2014 has shrunk to just 4 MLAs, five years down the line. Its 24% vote share has now dried-up to a dismal 1.8%.

Jailed former CM Om Prakash Chautala, currently out on parole, led the party’s first major rally today in Kaithal. The INLD and the JJP are locked in a battle of one-upmanship, trying to lay claim to the legacy of former Deputy PM and INLD patriarch, Devi Lal, whose 106th birth anniversary was commemorated on Wednesday.

The BSP, earlier an ally with the INLD and later with the JJP, has ditched both as polls draw near. The bedrock of INLD’s vote bank, the dominant Jat votes in the state, have also withered away.

(Published 25 September 2019, 14:51 IST)

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