BJP has the most number of seats in Haryana— but the blush is not that of triumph
- BJP has bagged 40 seats to Congress' 31 of the total 90 seats in the state, according to the Election Commission.
- Congress led by Bhupinder Singh Hooda has swept central parts like Jhajjhar, Badli, Garhi Sampla, Beri, Israna and others in the region.
- BJP has 36.5% and Congress has 28.1% vote share so far, according to the Election Commission data.
- Dushyant Chautala whose JJP is a splinter party from the INLD may become the kingmaker.
The midway mark is at 45 and the winning side needs at least 46 to form the government. Embarrassingly for hte BJP, seven of its state cabinet ministers have lost their own seats. "I thank the people of Haryana for blessing us. We will continue to work with the same zeal and dedication for the state’s progress. I laud the efforts of hardworking @BJP4Haryana Karyakartas who toiled extensively and went among the people to elaborate on our development agenda," Prime Minister Narendra Modi said.
On the other hand, Congress has gained hugely in vote share compared to the last assembly elections and is leading in 28 seats so far. Congress had 28.1% vote share in Haryana, according to data from Election Commission. Much of the gains have come from areas Garhi Sampla (Bhupinder Singh Hooda's home constituency) and other surrounding parts like Beri, Badli, Jhajjar, Bawani Khera, up until Israna.
|Party/Alliance||2019 Voteshare||2014 vote share|
"We accept the people's mandate humbly and respectfully. We also want to say that it is a moral defeat for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). PM Narendra Modi, BJP president Amit Shah and their entire leadership was cut off from the ground reality," Congress leader Anand Sharma said at a press conference.
Given the close contest between the Congress and BJP, the one-year old Jannayak Janta party (JJP) led by Dushyant Chautala may become the kingmaker.
For now, Chautala has already declared support for any party that would back him to be the state Chief Minister.
The poll of exit polls shows an easy victory for the Bharatiya Janata Party or the BJP. However, there is one from India Today-Axis that has predicted a hung assembly in the state, leaving room for some anxiety in all camps.
The BJP had won 47 seats in the 2014 Haryana assembly election, Congress won 15 seats, the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) won 19 seats, while others won 9 seats.
Factors at play in 2019
The assembly elections this year took place five months after the BJP’s clean sweep in the Parliamentary polls, just like in 2014. However, this year, there was less excitement on the voting day. The turnout fell to 65%, down from 76.54% in the previous election.
In the general elections earlier this year, the BJP was able to garner a clear majority even in the state with 34% of the votes and 70% of the seats.
The government in Haryana has largely mirrored the one at the Centre, either by electing the same party or an ally in the state. Going by that trend, BJP had an upper hand.
However, the larger economic slowdown in the country has had a major impact on Haryana's voter sentiment. The state is one of India's largest automobile hubs and accounts for two thirds of passenger cars, 50% of tractors and 60% of motorcycles manufactured in the country, according to the India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF).
The infamous slowdown in car sales has led to large-scale job losses in Haryana. Districts such as Panipat, Gurugram, Faridabad, Hisar and Sonipat are home to many textile businesses, particularly, readymade cotton garments, which is one of the major exports of Haryana. The sector is dire straits due to loss of competitive edge to other countries in the region and that too, has hurt the livelihood of many people. The agrarian distress, also widespread in the country, has also shown its impact in the state.
Still, the state economy has grown at a compounded annual growth rate of 12.67% over the last seven years and has led to much prosperity in many parts. This is in part due to the explosion of IT and IT-enabled services in the state, especially in the city of Gurgaon.
The political balance
Politically, the state’s votes were divided into Jats and Punjabi — the two dominant social segments. Over the last few years, the Punjabis have preferred the BJP. Which is why BJP got a large chunk of its seats from Punjabi-dominated areas Chandigarh, Panchkula, Ambala, Kurukshetra, Karnal and Panipat — pretty much the entire route from Delhi to Chandigarh except Sonepat.
However, the BJP has managed to consolidate the upper castes in the state into a significant vote bank which has benefited the party hugely in diluting the dominance of the Jats.
30% of the state population is from the lowest rung of the Indian society, the Dalits. They are not known to be BJP backers but as seen in the 2019 Parliamentary elections, some of the traditional caste calculus tend to break in the absence of a credible opposition.
Since his election, Chief Minister Khattar has seen many controversies including an agitation by Jats demanding the benefits of the ‘Other Backward Class’, protests by many thousands of supporters of a self-styled Godman, Baba Rahim, and small-scale riots on the streets over a movie that was later released under the title of Padmavat, to name a few.
Yet, a series of family feuds and corruption charges have kept opposition leaders busy firefighting most of the time and less prepared for the electoral battle. Add to that, Narendra Modi’s charm that worked wonders in the recently concluded general elections and since then, some emotive issues like the suspension of Article 370 that gave the state of Jammu and Kashmir a ‘special’ status have been largely well received by the people of the state.
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