Are new players replacing old ones in Haryana politics?

There is a sea change in Haryana politics. While new parties are emerging as strong players in the state, an old party is battling for its survival, finds Rajendra Khatry

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The state politics is seeing a sea-change in the recent times with the emergence of some new parties and an old party going into oblivion.  Two new parties came into existence recently. One is the Jananayk Janata Party (JJP) led by Hisar MP Dushyant Chautala. The other is the Loktrantra Suraksha Party founded by rebel BJP MP Raj Kumar Saini.

In the recent Jind by-election the main opposition party in Haryana, the Indian National Lok Dal’s (INLD) candidate Sumedh Singh Redhu suffered an ignominious defeat. The ruling BJP candidate Krishan Midha  won the seat from Jind, while, JJP’s candidate Digvijay Singh Chautala put up a spirited performance and gave a challenge to the BJP before losing to the ruling party at the political hustings after presenting a creditable performance.

Interestingly in the 2014 assembly elections the INLD candidate Hari Chand Midha had won the Jind seat beating the BJP rival. The Jind by-poll was necessitated due to the death of Hari Chand Midha. Later his son Krishan Midha joined the BJP and was even alloted  the ticket from Jind. Now it is for the first time in th history of Jind that the BJP has won an election there.

The Congress on the other hand suffered a loss of face when the Kaithal MLA and AICC Media Coordinator Randeep Singh Surjewala suffered a humiliating defeat in the Jind by-election and stood third behind the eventual winner Krishan Midha of the BJP and Digvijay Chautala of the JJP. Randeep Surjewala’s reputation had been at stake. He was even considered a threat to former Chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda for the postof chief minister in case the Congress came to power in the Vidhan Sabha elections later this year.

But the humiliating defeat has put paid to all that. So bad was Surjewala’s loss that he barely managed to save his deposit by a mere 900 votes. Howver, the worst was in store for the INLD candidate Umed Singh Redhu. Such was the impact of the disastrous sperformance of the INLD candidate in the Jind by-poll that the BSP broke its alliance with the INLD. The alliance between the two parties lasted for just 9 months.

After breaking its alliance with the INLD, the BSP announced to forge ties with LSP, an outfit floated by rebel BJP MP Raj Kumar Saini. In fact this development came just a few days after Om Prakash Chautala-led Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) suffered a humiliating defeat in the Jind bypoll, with party candidate Umed Singh Redhu forfeiting his security deposit, amidst the ongoing family feud in the Chautala family.

Now the BSP has forged an alliance with the newly formed Loktantra Suraksha Party formed by Raj Kumar Saini of the BJP. The BSP and the LSP will contest the upcoming Lok Sabha elections and Haryana Assembly polls.

In Haryana, the BSP will contest on eight and the LSP on two Lok Sabha seats. According to Meghraj, BSP president of Haryana, his party would contest on 35 seats and the LSP on 55 seats in the Haryana Assembly polls later.

Earlier the BSP had hinted that it might soon call off its alliance with the INLD. It had earlier also said that it would part ways with the INLD if it failed to get united. Raj Kumar Saini is the rebel BJP MP from Kurukshetra, who last year floated his Loktantra Suraksha Party (LSP) and the candidate Vinod Ashri fielded by him in the Jind by-poll had put up a better performance than INLD’s Redhu. Vinod Ashri polled more than 12,000 votes to remain fourth in the Jind by-poll behind the winner Krishan Midha, Digvijay Chautala and Randeep Surjewala of the Congress.

Interestingly the INLD and the BSP had forged an alliance in April last year. At that time both ruling BJP and opposition Congress had described it as a “marriage of convenience: which they entered into just to “grab power”. That has proved true as the BSP has now severed its relations with the INLD. Last year after the alliance, the two parties had announced to jointly contest the 2019 Lok Sabha and Assembly polls, but all that is a forgotten promise now.

In fact a day after the Bahujan Samaj Party talked about snapping of ties with Om Prakash Chautala-led INLD, his grandson Dushyant Chautala’s Jannayak Janta Party (JJP) also hinted that it was open to having an alliance with Mayawati’s outfit.

At that time Nishan Singh, state president of the JJP had said that the BSP as well as the JJP had similar ideologies — working for the betterment of the poor and downtrodden. “The BSP works for the welfare of poor and those who have been left behind in matters of development. We have also launched the JJP on the ideologies of Chaudhary Devi Lal, who always worked for such sections,” Nishan Singh had said.

Nishan Singh said that the INLD was fighting a battle to save its very existence. People of Jind had given the task of ousting the BJP from power to the JJP by giving 30 per cent of votes to Digvijay Chautala, he added. Nishan Singh had said the JJP was open to having an alliance with all like-minded parties except the Congress and the INLD.

On the other hand to the question whether there was any chance of sinking differences with the INLD and Leader of Opposition Abhay Chautala, Nishan Singh had said there was no such possibility at all. Digvijay Chautala, who contested the Jind by-poll supported by the JJP, also ruled out the possibility of any rapprochement with his uncle and the INLD.

Now Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has hinted at continuing the alliance with the Jannayak Janta Party (JJP) in Haryana, saying that there was a need to save the country and the people so all good persons must join hands for the purpose.

Kejriwal refused to elaborate on the subject while interacting with media persons. According to Naveen Jaihind, AAP Harysana president. AAP was likely to have a tie-up with the JJP for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections as well. Kejriwal had extended support to the JJP-backed candidate Digvijay Chautala in the Jind bypoll.

Meanwhile even as the INLD is fighting a battle for survival, party supremo Om Prakash Chautala, out on a 21 day furlough, is trying to save it by holding rallies in all the districts  of Haryana to infuse new life into the party. The first rally of Chautala was held in Ladwa. In the coming days a spate of such rallies and party workers meetings have been chalked out.  

The buoyant ruling BJP is now confident of doing well in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections, as well as the Vidhan Sabha elections later this year. “The party will go to the polls
confidently on the basis of the all-round development works carried out in the state’’, says Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar. Media advisor to the CM Rajiv Jain says the opposition parties are a dispirited lot. “They just want to grab power for their personal sake without thinking about the people and the state,’’ he said.

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