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Explained: Why Haryana BJP is going all out to regain lost ground in the state

The BJP unit in Haryana is going all out to regain trust among the rural population, a major chunk of the state’s electorate. A look at why, and what the party has been doing.

Written by Varinder Bhatia , Edited by Explained Desk | Chandigarh |
Updated: January 24, 2022 8:12:25 am
BJP takes out a Tiranga Yatra in Panchkula in August 2021. (Express Photo)

In a bid to placate the rural population of Haryana after facing criticism for over a year due to the farmers’ agitation against the three central farm legislations, the state BJP unit has been desperately trying to regain lost ground. From taking out a Tiranga Yatra to door-to-door vaccination awareness campaigns especially in rural areas, from village-specific schemes to celebrating Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose’s upcoming birth anniversary, the state’s unit is spreading across the state to regain trust among the rural population, a major chunk of the state’s electorate.

A look at why, and what the party has been doing to placate the state’s rural population.

What has the BJP been doing to placate the rural population?

With large-scale protests gripping almost every nook-and-corner of the state, the BJP in Haryana had started making attempts to retain its ground by organising several events. Amid the farmers protests too, the BJP had organised a Tiranga Yatra ahead of Independence Day in 2021. The party said the yatra was aimed at instilling patriotism among the state’s youth. It was considered a well-calculated move by the party, because even the farmers or opposition could neither protest nor criticise the it. On the other hand, the party managed to expand its cadre and could negate the threat from farmers of not being able to organise any party-level event in any part of the state.

The BJP-JJP coalition state government have been consistently announcing various schemes targeting the rural areas as part of its commitment to increase farmers’ annual income. Now, the party has been preparing its cadres to celebrate 125th birth anniversary of Netaji Bose.

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What are the party’s plans for celebrating 125h birth anniversary of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose?

Underlining that 2,715 soldiers of Bose’s Azad Hind Fauj were from Haryana, BJP state chief Om Prakash Dhankar told The Indian Express that as many as 75 party workers will gather at every place to celebrate his birth anniversary across 7,500 locations in Haryana. He said over six lakh party workers will participate in these events. Dhankar has already held meetings of party workers and local leaders in almost all parts of the state to make the event a grand success. MLAs of the party and their district unit presidents have also been assigned specific tasks to hold events in their respective constituencies and districts. “The soldiers of Azad Hind Fauj and other citizens had sung songs for Bose to welcome him in Singapore from April 1-3 in 1943. Two of these songs will be sung in every village panchayat and ward of municipalities of Haryana on January 23 to observe his birth anniversary as Parakram Diwas,” Dhankar told The Indian Express.

Why is the party strongly focussing on the rural population?

Along with the loss of image from the farm protests over the past year is the fact that the state is headed for panchayat polls in the near future. Although the polls could not yet be held due to an ongoing litigation regarding reservation norms that were challenged in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the state government expects that the verdict would be announced soon. If the party fails to make a significant impact in these polls, it could signal severe consequences in the Assembly polls scheduled for 2024.

Deputy Chief Minister and JJP leader Dushyant Chautala said, “Amendments have been made in the law regarding Panchayati Raj Institutions and the government has been looking forward to conducting the panchayat elections. However, we are waiting for the decision of the High Court”. The Panchayat polls will be a litmus test for both BJP and JJP, while the opposition will try its best to keep the farmers’ anger simmering against the coalition government. Aam Aadmi Party has also announced that it would make a formal entry into the state’s politics through the upcoming Panchayat polls.

How opposition looks at party’s attempts to placate rural population?

“It is not about the urban or rural population, people from all sections of society feel betrayed by this coalition government. Farmers are not getting the compensation for their damaged crops, they are made to stand in the queues for getting fertilisers for their fields, there is no guarantee on MSP…” countered Leader of Opposition and Haryana’s former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda. The Congress leader asked “why this government think of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose now when when they have been in power for the last seen year.

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