BJP sweeps Haryana in a highly polarised election

Haryana witnessed a Jat-versus-non-Jat battle. The BJP could not divide the society in the state on the basis of religion. So, it successfully played the caste card

Representative Image (Social media)
Representative Image (Social media)

Yoginder Gupta

The BJP succeeded in completely polarising the electorate to make a clean sweep in Haryana, as the party won all the 10 Lok Sabha seats. It was only in Rohtak where the Congress nominee Deepender Singh Hooda gave it a tough fight in the see-saw battle till the last vote was counted.

The state witnessed a Jat-versus-non-Jat battle. In Haryana, the BJP could not divide society on the basis of religion. So, it successfully played the caste card. The saffron party was helped in its designs by none other than the Jat community itself, which played into the hands of a nondescript leader from Uttar Pradesh. The UP leader misled the community into believing that if it raised a demand for reservation through agitations and demonstrations, its members would succeed in it. The widespread violence by the pro-reservation agitators in the State three years ago, angered the non-Jat communities, which were otherwise also resenting the domination of the Jats.

Politics is a game of perception. Despite its failure to handle the pro-reservation agitation firmly, the BJP convinced the non-Jat communities that it is the only party which can protect their interests.

Among the Congress candidates who suffered defeat are former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, State Congress President Ashok Tanwar, former Assembly Speaker Kuldip Sharma and former Union Minister Kumari Selja.

The BJP was quite successful in weaving the narrative of nationalism and nation’s security. A large number of Haryanvis are either serving defence personnel or ex-servicemen. They got carried away with the narrative of nationalism in context of the Balakot airstrike.

One fall out of the Lok Sabha elections in Haryana is that the regional parties in the state have become irrelevant. One can say that Haryana is heading towards two-party system, which would be ultimately good for the state. Both the regional parties owing allegiance to former Deputy Prime Minister Devi Lal, the INLD and the Jannayak Janta Party (JJP), have put up dismal performance.

The JJP contested the polls in alliance with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). Barring Dushyant Chautala of JJP, who was defeated by Union Minister Birender Singh’s son, who quit the IAS to join politics, all alliance candidates forfeited their security deposit. The INLD also met the same fate. Ironically, the performance of the BSP was better than these two parties.

The Congress will have another opportunity to recover the lost ground when Haryana goes for Assembly elections later this year. But before that, the high command will have to take some hard decisions. For the past five years, the party organisation in the state was virtually paralysed. There were no district units. The grass-root workers did not get any direction from the leadership.

The Congress workers were being pulled apart by various leaders, who wanted the workers to be personally loyal to them rather than the party. Since the nationalism narrative would not work in the Assembly elections, the Congress leadership must act quickly to set the party in order in the states which will go for elections later this year.

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