Uncertainty in Haryana with no party getting a majority of its own

While Congress has done well,the results could have been different had Hooda been given command earlier; he got it only 47 days before polling day

former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda (IANS photo)
former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda (IANS photo)

Yoginder Gupta

Haryana seems to be heading towards political uncertainty with no party getting absolute majority. The BJP, whose leaders had been claiming that its tally in the Haryana Assembly elections would be ‘75 paar’ (more than 75 seats in the House of 90) has received a rude shock today.

The party is now knocking at the doors of the Independents and Jannayak Janata Party (JJP) with a begging bowl. Six short of absolute majority (till the time reports came in), the BJP is offering the post of Deputy Chief Minister to Dushyant Chautala, the JJP chief, which has won 10 seats. Seven Independents have also won.

The Congress, whose decimation was predicted by many opinion and exit polls, has emerged as the second largest party with 28 seats. Former Chief Minister and leader of the Congress Legislature Party Bhupinder Singh Hooda has given a call to all non-BJP MLAs to join hands to form a non-BJP government in the state. He said since the verdict is against the BJP government, all non-BJP parties and persons must strive to keep the BJP out of power.

The possibility of the JJP listening to Hooda’s call is remote. Dushyant is weighing his options cleverly. He has not opened his cards yet. But a statement made by him a few days ago gives enough indication of his possible demands. He had said in his family only Chief Ministers or Deputy Prime Ministers are born. His great grandfather, Devi Lal, and his grandfather Om Prakash Chautala had been Deputy Prime Minister and the Chief Minister of Haryana respectively. Obviously Dushyant is keying the post of at least Deputy Chief Minister. He can come to the Congress’ fold if the latter offers him the Chief Ministership as it had done in Karnataka.

Otherwise also Dushyant, who wants to become a Jat leader in the state, knows that there is a vacuum in the BJP Jat leadership. Most of its Jat leaders have been defeated in these elections. If he goes with the Congress, the presence of Hooda, who is respected the most by the Jats, is a big hindrance in Dushyant’s dreams.

The BJP has moved fast. Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar has sought an appointment with the Governor this evening. He is likely to tender his resignation and also stake his claim to form the next government on the basis of being the leader of the single largest party. To put pressure on the JJP, the Governor can administer the oath of office to Khattar at the earliest. He would be given 15-20 days to prove his majority in the House.

The Congress has garnered a respectable tally. The results could have been different had Hooda been given command a few months earlier. He got the command only 47 days before the polling day.

If the Congress high command wants to revive the party, it would have to strengthen regional leaders whom it should consider as its ally and not a rival. Punjab and Haryana are good examples in favour of this argument. Certain sections of the media are claiming that the exit of Ashok Tanwar, former Haryana Congress president, has harmed the party. But Tanwar is a virtual non-entity. Neither his presence nor his absence would have made any impact on the party’s prospects.

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Published: 24 Oct 2019, 7:11 PM