ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Victory by Default in Haryana?

The Congress has done little for Haryana but it is likely to record victory in the assembly elections.

The Congress Party’s convincing victory in the parliamentary constituencies in Haryana in the April-May Lok Sabha elections (when it won nine out of the 10 constituencies) in the state has emboldened the state government to recommend dissolution of the assembly and call for fresh polls seven months before its scheduled completion of five years. The elections are to be held in October along with the other state elections. The Congress, led by chief minister Bhoopinder Singh Hooda, has been buoyed by the scale of victory in the Lok Sabha elections, which also bucked the past trend of punishing incumbent state governments in the parliamentary elections. And the manner in which the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD)-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) managed to lose in the Lok Sabha polls led to a breakdown of the alliance soon after, thereby strengthening the prospects of the Congress even more.

The victory of the Congress in the 2004 assembly elections had much to do with voter disenchantment with INLD rule under Om Prakash Chautala who was seen to be overweening and forgiving of corruption, criminalisation and authoritarianism. Since then, under the leadership of Hooda, the Congress has only consolidated its support base as the opposition has been in disarray. After a period of dissension within the Congress with the choice of Hooda as chief minister, the party gradually steadied itself once the dissidents left and formed the Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC). The HJC managed a decent vote share in the Lok Sabha elections and will try again to play spoiler to the Congress’ hopes in the assembly elections.

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