Stung, Haryana BJP rushes to rework caste math, dole sops

Faced with setbacks in the Lok Sabha polls and with Assembly elections just months away, the Haryana BJP has adopted a two-fold strategy: targeting the non-Jat voters and galvanizing the bureaucracy for swift redressal of public grievances. A report by Pawan Kumar Bansal

Although Haryana assembly elections are due in October this year, the BJP has set up its double fold agenda by focusing on non-Jat voters and at the same time starting addressing people’s grievances by putting CM Nayab Singh Saini in action.

However, the main opposition party in the state, the Congress, is also not lagging behind either. Former CM and Leader of Opposition Bhupinder Singh Hooda has already convened a meeting of party legislators and discussed the strategy for the coming assembly elections. He is planning to meet party workers.

Rejuvenated after having won five out of ten Lok Sabha seats in just concluded elections, the Congress has now decided to press the paddle. Hisar MP Jai Parkash, who defeated Ranjit Chautala, Naina Chautala and Sunaina Chautala, all from the family of former deputy prime minister Devi Lal in the LS poll, has claimed that that this time, Congress will form the government under the leadership of Bhupinder Singh Hooda by winning 70 out of 90 assembly seats in Haryana.

Stakes are high for both the BJP as well as for Congress. In a significant development, Aam Aadmi Party(AAP)  which contested Lok Sabha elections in alliance with Congress has snapped its ties with the Grand Old Party and has announced to contest all the 90 seats independently.

Sushil Gupta of AAP, who contested from the Kurukshetra seat as alliance candidate, narrowly lost to Naveen Jindal of the BJP. The AAP has accused a section of Congress leaders of sabotaging the election of Gupta. However, Bhupinder Singh Hooda has hit back saying that Congress does not need any alliance for the Assembly elections in the state as it is capable of fighting alone.

The parties such as Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) and Jannayak Janata party (JJP) headed by Dushyant Chautala which lost badly in the elections are also planning to contest all the ninety seats.

The BJP which had lost five seats in Lok Sabha  polls has recovered from initial shock with formation of NDA Government led by Narender Modi at the Centre.While Congress is facing infighting between Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Kumari Selja, who has won the Sirsa Lok Sabha  seat, the BJP has no such problem. Both Selja and Bhupinder Singh Hooda are claimants of CM’s post in case the Congress comes to power. 

Blaming Hooda for choosing weak candidates in some constituencies, Selja has alleged that Congress could have made a clean sweep in the state with better ticket distribution. In the BJP , Manohar Lal, former two-term Haryana CM, who has been appointed as cabinet minister in the new NDA government, is in complete control of the party, courtesy his close proximity with Narender Modi.

In another development, it is now believed that CM Nayab Singh Saini will not be changed and elections will be held under joint leadership of Saini and Manohar Lal.

The post of the state BJP head is also vacant as Nayab Singh Saini is holding dual charge of both the posts of CM and the party chief. The BJP can accommodate one leader as one seat of Rajya Sabha will fall vacant with Rajya Sabha member Deepender Hooda winning the Lok Sabha election from Rohtak.

Besides, several posts including that of a chairman and two members of Human Rights Commission are also lying vacant. Since the BJP feels that it can’t win election on the basis of its performance of two terms hence it is banking upon polarization on caste basis.

Jats, by and large, are perceived to be anti-BJP. The fact that Abhimanu, Om Parkash Dhankad, Subash Barala, member of Rajya Sabha, besides Dharmvir who has won for the third consecutive time from Bhiwani-Mahendragarh constituency are all from the Jat community. But despite these overtures, the party doesn’t enjoy the support of the community.

Therefore the BJP is banking upon non-Jats who constitute about seventy percent of the population. Krishan Pal Gujjar and Rao Inderjit from backward class were inducted in the Modi government besides Manohar Lal, who is from Punjabi community, with an eye on non-Jat vote bank.

CM Saini also belongs to the backward community. Besides focusing on non-Jat vote banks, the BJP government has taken several measures as part of the damage control exercise. Besides giving plots to poor it has given them free transport facilities in roadways buses subject to some conditions.

Sensing tremendous resentment among people over preparation of property identity papers and Parivaar Pehchaan Patras, the deputy commissioners have been ordered to hold camps on a daily basis for resolving the public grievances on these issues. Chief Secretary TVSN Prasad is personally monitoring the programme.