The BJP created history in Haryana by winning all 10 constituencies with comfortable margins. Rohtak was the lone seat where the BJP candidate, Arvind Sharma, was neck and neck with Congress’s Deepender Hooda. The three-time Congress MP eventually lost by a thin margin.
The state’s main opposition party, the Indian National Lok Dal, was decimated, with most of its candidates losing security deposits. The newly formed JJP (an offshoot of INLD) and its ally, Aam Aadmi Party, also failed to make any impact.
The verdict also wiped out four political dynasties of Haryana — Devi Lal’s three great-grandsons Dushyant, Digvijay and Arjun Chautala lost; Bansi Lal’s granddaughter Shruti Choudhry lost in Bhiwani-Mahendragarh; and Bhajan Lal’s grandson Bhavya Bishnoi finished a distant third in Hisar.
Modi factor, split in Jat votes
What explains the BJP sweep in Haryana? For one, the Modi factor. Besides, Haryana sends a large population of its youth to the armed forces and the ripples of the Pulwama attack were felt in its villages. The Congress, on the other hand, was a divided house, as was evident both in the panchayat polls and in the Jind bypoll, in which party national spokesman Randeep Singh Surjewala came a distant third. The INLD split vertically with party supremo Om Prakash Chautala's younger son Ajay Chautala forming his own Jannayak Janata Party. Traditionally, Haryana was ruled by the party that got the Jat votes. But the BJP managed to polarise the voters, creating a Jat, non-Jat divide. While the Jat votes got split among Jat candidates, the BJP managed to consolidate the non-Jat electorate
Congress’s four-time MP and two-time CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda — Deepender’s father — lost to BJP’s Ramesh Chander Kaushik by over 1.6 lakh votes.
This was the first time the BJP contested all 10 Lok Sabha seats in Haryana. In 2014, it contested eight seats and won seven, while then ally Haryana Janhit Congress had contested two seats and lost both.
In Karnal, Sanjay Bhatia, making his electoral debut, won by a record 6.5 lakh votes. The BJP’s Krishanpal Gurjar won in Faridabad.
In Sirsa, BJP’s Sunita Duggal, a former IRS officer and another debutante, won by over 3 lakh votes against Congress’s Haryana chief and former local MP Ashok Tanwar.
Kumari Selja, a former Union minister, lost to BJP’s Rattan Lal Kataria by over 3.40 lakh votes, while Shruti Choudhry lost to Dharambir Singh by a margin of over 4 lakh.
Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar attributed the party’s landslide victory in Haryana to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “people-friendly policies and initiatives”. He said: “They [Opposition] launched a personal attack. They used the word chowkidar, for instance. Then they criticised EVMs. Congress workers stood guard outside strongrooms. What are they doing there? They have also become chowkidars.”
Bhupinder Hooda said, “We will honour the people’s verdict. As far as performance is concerned, we cannot isolate Haryana — it happened across the country. The Modi wave again swept everything away.”