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Mainstream, VOL LVII No 32 New Delhi July 27, 2019

Decoding BJPs Landslide Victory in Haryana

Saturday 27 July 2019

by Ranbir Singh

The BJP, which had obtained 34.18 per cent votes and won seven out of 10 seats from Haryana in the 2014 parliamentary elections, has been able to get 57.93 per cent votes and win all the 10 seats in the 2019 parliamentary elections. This quantum jump of the party both in terms of the vote-share and the seats won may be understood if we keep in view the following factors:

In the first instance, it has to be primarily attributed to the charisma of Modi’s personality created with the help of an obliging media which projected him not only as the only leader capable of providing political stability but also defending the country. It is pertinent to mention here that the voters of Haryana have always been attracted by strong leaders and they have always despised the weaker ones on account of their marshal tradition.

Secondly, this extraordinary success of the BJP may be ascribed to the continuation of the process of consolidation of the non-Jat votes in favour of the BJP in Haryana which had begun on the eve of the 2014 parliamentary elections as a reaction against the domination of the State politics by the Jat Chief Ministers since 1996—Bansi Lal from 1996 to 1999, O.P. Chautala from 1999 to 2005 and Bhupinder Singh Hooda from 2005 to 2014. The non-Jats could not get a credible alternative to the Congress and INLD till the BJP succeeded in projecting itself as such in the 2014 parliamentary and the 2014 Haryana Assembly elections. This non-Jat consolidation had in fact started after the Jats began to demand reservations in 2010 and had launched an agitation for this purpose. These feelings of the non-Jats had been further strengthened after the formation of Manohar Lal Khattar-led BJP Government in Haryana in 2014 which accorded to them a vicarious satisfaction of having their own rule. The floating of the LSP by a disgruntled BJP MP from Kurukshetra, Rajkumar Saini, failed to make any dent in this non-Jat support base of the BJP on the eve of 2019 parliamentary elections. This is evident from the fact that the LSP-BSP alliance could get only 4.09 per cent votes. Consequently, the non-Jat support base of the BJP was able to remain intact despite it. This factor consequently enabled the BJP to sweep the 2019 parliamentary elections in the State.

Thirdly and most importantly, the ghost of Jat agitations for reservation in 2015 and 2016 had further expanded the non-Jat support base of the BJP as a section of the non-Jat which had voted for the Congress in the 2014 parliamentary and Assembly elections in Haryana had developed a suspicion that these movements had the clandestine support of a few Jat leaders of the Congress party.

Fourthly, the BJP unit of Haryana faced the election as a united team under the leadership of Manohar Lal Khattar. Besides, it had at its disposal a large cadre of dedicated BJP workers at the grassroots level. The Congress had, as a matter of fact, acquired the image of a divided house on the eve of these elections. Besides, it had been suffering from the virtual absence of an organisational structure and having almost a complete dearth of workers for managing the election booths.

Fifthly, the BJP also benefited by the split in the main Opposition party of Haryana, the INLD. The formation of the JJP by the grandsons of O.P. Chautala had virtually swept off its support base. This also contributed to the break of the alliance of the INLD with the Akali Dal and the decision of the latter to have an alliance with the BJP. This meant loss of Sikh support for the INLD and its transfer to the BJP. Consequently, the INLD failed to retain the two seats which it had won in the 2014 parliamentary elections. So much so that all its candidates lost their security deposits. Besides, the JJP could not project itself as a credible alternative to the BJP in Haryana despite its alliance with the Aam Aadmi Party. This is evident from the fact that this alliance could secure only 9.23 per cent votes. Even the JJP supremo, Dushyant Chautala, failed to retain the Hisar seat which he had won in the 2014 parliamentary elections as a candidate of the INLD.

Last but not the least, the BJP also benefited from the fair selections for jobs and reduction of corruption during the rule of the Manohar Lal Khatter-led BJP in the State. These factors enabled the BJP to win over a segment of Jat voters as well. As a matter of fact the landslide victory of the BJP in Haryana in the 2019 parliamentary elections was the cumulative impact of all these factors. But above all, it was more a vote for Modi.

Be that as it may, the Chief Minister of Haryana has claimed that the BJP shall win 75 out of 90 seats of Haryana Vidhan Sabha in the forthcoming elections. But one has to keep one’s fingers crossed because the State and local level factors become more important than the national level issues in the Assembly elections.

The author is a Senior Fellow, Institute of Social Sciences, New Delhi. Prof Singh is now retired, and was the Former Dean, Social Sciences and Academic Affairs, Kurukshetra University.

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