In a historic shift in power in Haryana, the Bharatiya Janata Party won Assembly elections with absolute majority for the first time. The BJP, which only had four MLAs in Haryana till the morning of October 19, easily crossed the halfway mark of 45 in the 90-member Assembly winning 47 seats.
The incumbent Congress government led by Bhupinder Singh Hooda has been decimated, coming a distant third with only 15 seats.
The BJP, which was riding high on the Narendra Modi wave in the Lok Sabha elections, kept up its momentum in the Assembly elections too. Its star campaigner in the state remained Prime Minister Modi, who campaigned in the interiors of Haryana tirelessly addressing several rallies.
In some of the constituencies where Modi addressed rallies, the BJP candidates won by a huge margin like Karnal, where Manoharlal Khattar won by over 60,000 votes, Badkhal (Faridabad) where Seema Trikha won by over 35,000 votes and many others.
Modi in his rallies took regular jibes at the 10-year Congress and Hooda regime for the Robert Vadra-DLF land deals. The party played the corruption and dynasty politics card to wipe out the Congress from the state. He made his call for a ‘Congress mukt Bharat’ louder during his campaigning for the Assembly elections.
The Congress on the other hand failed miserably despite ruling the state for 10 years.
The second position in Haryana has been taken by jailed leader OP Chautala’s Indian National Lok Dal, which was riding on sympathy votes this election. The Congress at the third position has lost ground in many of its strongholds, the biggest one being Rewari, where it had held the seat for 6 terms. Congress’s six-time MLA Captain Ajay Singh Yadav could not even make it to the second position in his Rewari seat, which was won by BJP’s Randhir Singh Kapriwas by over 40,000 votes.
After the humiliating Lok Sabha elections loss, Congress star campaigners Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi were rarely seen campaigning in the state. The party banked on its local candidates’ visibility and campaigns in their respective constituencies and kept its campaign centred around development.
But the party could not withstand the Modi wave and like the Lok Sabha elections, it suffered a major setback in Haryana too even as Hooda managed to retain his seat Garhi Sampla-Kiloi by over 40,000 votes.
Some seats that the Congress won were taken away by small margins like the Rai seat where Congress’s Jai Tirath defeated INLD’s Inderjeet by only 3 votes.
The INLD, which was hoping to garner sympathy votes for OP Chautala going to jail in the teachers’ recruitment scam, too could not stand as the Modi wave once again swept the state. Chautala’s grandson Dushyant Chautala too could not win the Uchana Kalan seat and lost to his BJP rival Prem Lata.
Whether it is the BJP’s Modi wave or the call for change or corruption charges that have plagued the Congress, the people of Haryana this election have shifted their loyalties and are looking at new leaders in the state.