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In Haryana, it’s a direct fight between BJP and Congress

first_imgThe two-week-long gruelling campaign for the election to the 90-member State Assembly in Haryana involving a direct contest between the ruling BJP and the Congress concluded on Saturday.A total of 1,168 candidates are in the fray for the election slated for October 21 with the highest 118 from Hisar and the lowest 24 from Panchkula. A total of 1,83,90,525 voters, including 85,12,231 women, are registered in the State with 19,578 polling booths.The BJP, which went into the election with the slogan of “Ab Ki Baar, 75 Paar” (more than 75 seats this time), carried out a high-profile campaign with Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself addressing rallies in seven Lok Sabha constituencies of Faridabad, Gurugram, Sirsa, Bhiwani-Mahendragarh, Hisar, Sonipat and Kurukshetra. Besides, Union Home Minister and BJP national president Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Delhi BJP president Manoj Tiwari also held public meetings.Low profile The Congress campaign, on the other hand, remained largely low profile led by former CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda, his son and ex-MP Deepender Singh Hooda and the party’s State president Kumari Selja. With the party’s interim president Sonia Gandhi skipping her lone rally in Mahendragarh, former president Rahul Gandhi ended up addressing two rallies, one each in Muslim-dominated Nuh and Mahendragarh. He attacked the BJP over the current economic slowdown and for allegedly playing politics of “divide and rule”.Rejuvenated by the change in State leadership almost a month before the election, the Congress wove a narrative around the achievements of its government during the 10-year regime of Mr. Bhupender Hooda, the promises made in its manifesto and the plight of the farmers and the traders due to “wrong” policies of the BJP. The ruling party stressed on national issues such as Article 370, National Register of Citizens and the Balakot air strikes, besides highlighting the “clean and transparent” governance provided by CM Manohar Lal Khattar.Though the BJP is likely to ride the current wave of nationalism, Jat and non-Jat divide and the absence of strong rivals, the discontent among its cadre over ticket distribution and infighting could harm the party, especially in South Haryana. Though the BJP has an edge, the contest could be closer than expected, feel analysts.Led by former Hisar MP Dushyant Chautala, the Jannayak Janta Party, formed after the split in the Indian National Lok Dal in December last, remains another important political force with presence in the Jat belt, including Hisar, Jind and Kaithal. The INLD, pushed into political oblivion following the split, AAP, BSP and Swaraj India are the other political parties in the fray.Dangal-fame wrestler Babita Phogat, Olympic medallist Yogeshwar Dutt and former Indian hockey team captain Sandeep Singh are the celebrity BJP candidates. Former two-time CM Hooda, CM Khattar and Finance Minister Capt. Abhimanyu are among the prominent leaders contesting the election.last_img

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