The BJP has finally succeeded in dethroning the Hooda regime that ruled Haryana for two successive terms, with a remarkable win. The result, though not surprising, is certainly dramatic given INC’s long history of ruling the state, which now finds itself completely decimated and isolated in defeat and BS Hooda has no one but himself to blame. Of the 90 seats, BJP had won 45 seats and was leading in 2, with only 2 more results to be declared.
The credit for this victory has to go to Team Modi & Shah, who strategically laid the groundwork to get back to power and were able to rally all loyal party cadres to come together with the single focus agenda of removing the INC from power and it succeeded.
Going alone into an election in a state where it had hardly any presence was indeed a gamble and it worked. The win in Haryana now re-enforces brand ‘Modi’ and this win will set the stage for the BJP to roll out its national ambition.
The BJP had started to lay the foundation to the path to power by identifying a suitable set of possible candidates. There were several challenges. First, was to identify a candidate that continued to represent the aspirations of the dominant Jat community. The second was to identify someone who was acceptable to the schedule castes and other backward classes which is a sizeable segment in the state. The third was to choose a candidate that was taint free and did not carry any past baggage of corruption. The fourth was someone who is a party loyalist and has the ability to bring varied factions together.
With all the above parameters to be met, the BJP strategist Amit Shah took an early and deliberate decision not to project any candidate for the post of Chief Minister. The objective was to stave off any pre-poll factional fight within the party that would have weakened the party in a crucial fight that required the BJP to put up a united front. The strategy worked out very well as all factions within the party worked together with one purpose and that was to remove the Hooda regime.
Amit Shah and his team also had to take a major decision and that was whether to go into the elections alone or continue the fight with alliance partners. The results have only demonstrated the Amit Shah-Narendra Modi combine’s ability to make the right call, as the gamble has paid off handsomely.
It was a tough call to make, in letting go its trusted partner in Kuldeep Bishnoi led Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC) and the Shiromani Akali Dal, which had a small presence in the state. In what holds significance in political re-positioning, the BJP is letting out a message nationally that it is willing and prepared to go it alone.
The BJP needs to shore up its numbers in Rajya Sabha if it wants to push its reforms agenda and wins in Haryana and Maharashtra is going to give it the confidence it needs to go after more states with aggression. With this result, there is a fair chance that BJP may now push for elections in Delhi, a state where it has been reluctant to fight the AAP and Congress.
Breaking new grounds
BJP has broken several new grounds in Haryana. It has successfully managed to break INC and INLD’s grip on the Jat community, which has traditionally been voting for either party over the years. A seat like Rohtak, which was an INC stronghold and has a significant Jat influence, was lost to BJP.
The story was repeated across constituencies in the state. The fact that the Jat community has shown that it was open to change is very significant with a sizeable segment shifting loyalty to the BJP.
BJP had no ground with the Dalit and backward classes in the state but this segment has also shown its clear preference for the BJP. This result is going to be heartening for the party which will now want to extend these gains to other states and break new ground in bringing these groups under its fold.
BJP now has the mandate for a fresh beginning in Haryana, in a state that is desperate for clean governance and has the potential to move on the path of rapid development. The new Chief Minister will do well to carefully choose a competent team that will work in cohesion and consistently deliver on all issues that the party has promised.