The BJP won seven of the eight seats it contested in Haryana, riding the Narendra Modi wave and apparently overriding the state’s caste politics.
Of the remaining three seats, the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) won two and the Congress one. The Congress had won nine of the 10 seats last time. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which had declared Haryana as its new goal after the Delhi win, drew a blank. Its second-most important leader, Yogendra Yadav, finished fourth in Gurgaon.
The Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC) which contested two seats in partnership with the BJP lost both, including of party chief Kuldeep Bishnoi. Bishnoi, who had criticised the BJP and held out on seats before finally deciding to align with the party, lost from Hisar to Dushyant Chautala. A political novice, Dushyant is the grandson of INLD supremo Om Prakash Chautala.
Dushyant could be the youngest MP in Parliament having turned 26 during the campaign.
The results will please Chautala, who is in prison over the teacher recruitment scam. His party’s tally is not just more than the Congress’s, it finished at No. 2 on a majority of the seats. This indicates that in the Assembly elections that are four months away, the fight may be between the Chautalas and the BJP.
The Congress had little to cheer about in the state that it has now been ruling for almost 10 years. The only seat won by the party was Rohtak, where Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda’s son Deepender was in the race.
The Modi wave got the BJP votes despite the fact that, of its candidates, four had crossed over from other parties and one was a rank outsider. Old party hands Krishan Pal Gurjar (Faridabad) and Rattan Lal Kataria (Ambala) too won by convincing, 3.5 lakh-vote margins. However, BJP veteran Om Prakash Dhanker lost to Deepender in Rohtak.
The BJP’s winner from Gurgaon, Rao Inderjit Singh, had crossed over from the Congress. Its Bhiwani-Mahendergarh candidate Dharambir won despite having joined the party only a day before the announcement of his ticket. The Sonepat candidate shifted to the BJP from the Congress while its Kurukshetra winner Raj Kumar Saini came over from the INLD. The fifth nominee, Ashwani Chopra, was nowhere in the picture till his name was announced from Karnal. He is the editor and owner of Punjab Kesri.
“The people of the state have voted for Modiji. It is now our responsibility to carry it further in the Vidhan Sabha elections,” said Gurjar, who defeated senior Congress leader Avtar Singh Bhadana.
State BJP chief Ram Bilas Sharma said that people had voted for the development model of Modi and that the party would next win the Haryana Assembly polls.
Bishnoi quits as HJC chief
Taking responsibility for his and his party’s humiliating defeat in the Lok Sabha elections, HJC chief Kuldeep Bishnoi resigned as the party president on Friday. “I have always worked for the welfare of the people with honesty. Neither did I bow to anybody nor came under anybody’s pressure. Still we could not get support of the people in Hisar and Sirsa. Hence, I resign from the post of the president of the party with a heavy heart,” read a statement issued by him. His wife and Adampur MLA, Renuka Bishnoi, announced she will resign from the Assembly.