With the BJP securing a comprehensive victory in the high-stakes Jind bypoll, talks of possible simultaneous Haryana Assembly and Lok Sabha elections have started gaining ground in sections of the ruling party even though Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar had earlier said that the state polls, due in October, would be held on time. The tenure of the current Lok Sabha gets over in May.
The issue of simultaneous polls may come up for a discussion in the meeting of Haryana BJP core group comprising senior leaders including Khattar and state party chief Subhash Barala scheduled in Delhi on Sunday. Speaking to The Sunday Express, Barala said that the meeting has been called in connection with preparations for the Lok Sabha polls. Haryana BJP in-charge Anil Jain and party’s Lok Sabha election in-charge for the state Kalraj Mishra will also attend the meeting.
Khattar on Saturday again insisted that the Assembly polls will be held on its due time (October). “We have already said that both polls will be held on their due time. As of now, we have not received any such information, which suggests that we have to go for the two polls simultaneously,” Khattar said in Panipat.
Earlier, on January 31, after party candidate Krishan Middha won the bypoll to Jind assembly, Khattar had told media that “in case any such suggestion (of holding the assembly election along with the Lok Sabha polls) comes from the Centre, the same could be considered.” “The comprehensive win is a clear indication of the increasing faith of the people in the state government’s transparent and graft-free governance…I’m confident that the party will win all the 10 seats from the state in the Lok Sabha elections,” Khattar had said, adding the victory in Jind was a “clear indication” that the people had accepted the party’s working culture and rejected the “caste-based politics” of the Opposition.
BJP leaders feel that the win in the bypoll soon after the saffron party swept mayoral elections in five towns has boosted the morale of the cadres. “The Jind bypoll result has opened the gateway of new territories for BJP in the state,” said Haryana finance minister Captain Abhimanyu while speaking to The Sunday Express.
Insiders in the BJP say that the party’s central leadership has not taken a call on holding simultaneous polls but there is a feeling in the party that such talks should go on to cash in on the momentum gained after Jind bypoll and civic body elections.
BJP leaders believe that the entry of heavyweights – Congress’ Randeep Singh Surjewala and newly-floated Jannayak Janata Party’s Digvijay Chautala – had turned Jind bypoll into a prestigious election battle. “Without the entry of top leaders, this election would have been a low profile affair. But now it will prove beneficial to us as everybody was talking about the Jind elections,” said a BJP leader.
Since long, the party leaders have been stating that the Assembly elections will be held after the Lok Sabha polls arguing that “it would be beneficial for them in Haryana, if party returns to the power at Centre”. However, now many in the party claim that the circumstances have changed after the Jind bypoll result.
BJP leaders said that their performance was significant in civic polls too as the saffron party had succeeded in winning Rohtak and Hisar, considered strongholds of veteran Congress leader and former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and former CM Bhajan Lal’s family, respectively. Further, the party also won Karnal municipal corporation poll where the united opposition had backed an independent candidate.
Further, BJP leaders believe that the Jind bypoll result may intensify infighting in Congress as “it may led to a blame game”. Haryana’s main opposition party INLD has already faced a split leading to birth of the JJP of Dushyant Chautala. The INLD candidate in Jind bypoll fared very badly and could not even secure his security deposit, though Dushyant Chautala’s younger brother Digvijay stood second.
Reacting to the talks of simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly polls, JJP’s Haryana unit president Nishan Singh said that “the BJP will certainly take a call” keeping in view its benefit. “Whether the assembly polls are held in April or October; we are ready to take on the BJP.” On the other hand, not impressed with the Jind election results, the Congress leaders have been stating that “the ruling parties have been winning bypolls in the state”