Cong, INLD devise strategies, BJP banks on Modi

BJP turnaround in Haryana has been largely due to Modi, say sources

Cong, INLD devise strategies, BJP banks on Modi

Contrasting campaign agendas in poll-bound Haryana are providing a glimpse into each party’s strategy to woo voters in a multi-cornered contest scheduled for October 15.

While the incumbent Congress, eyeing a third term, is seeking votes in the name of development, the main opposition INLD is attempting to strike an emotional chord with the electorate by playing the sympathy card. Its top leaders, including former chief minister O P Chautala who was convicted for 10-years in the recruitment scam, have been in jail for over a year now. 

On the other hand, the BJP, which saw unprecedented success in the recently-concluded general elections, is firmly placed on “brand Modi” for its electoral success in the Assembly elections. In fact, the BJP is the only party in the state to have registered a phenomenal increase in its vote share between 2009 Assembly elections (9 per cent) and the recent Lok Sabha polls (35 per cent) . 

This, despite the fact that the BJP had arguably little to flaunt in the name of performance and presence in the last decade in Haryana. Party sources admit the turnaround in the prospects of the BJP has been largely due to the “Modi factor”. After the general elections, the BJP has become the leading political party in Haryana. It has become a major player in 54 of the 90 Assembly segments in the state.   

The Congress campaign led by Bhupinder Singh Hooda is relying on the development plank to win votes. The party has been fierce in its campaigning and has in fact preferred to even take on the much touted Gujarat model head-on. It has issued advertisements giving a blow by blow account to prove the merits of the Haryana development model against what Modi did in Gujarat. 

However, the fact remains that the Hooda government is facing acute anti-incumbency. The Congress was the only prominent party in the state to have taken a serious beating in the Lok Sabha elections, both in the number of seats it won and in its vote share.

 But the state Congress sees renewed vigor amid results of the recent by-elections and hopes that BJP’s below-the-mark performance in the by-polls continues in the Assembly elections. Congress leaders have been mocking BJP’s “ache din” slogan by highlighting “failed promises” of the NDA government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. 

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