BJP looks to retain power, Cong eyes comeback as Haryana goes to polls on Monday

PTI Chandigarh | Updated on October 20, 2019

Over 1.83 crore voters, including 85 lakh women and 252 transgenders, are eligible to vote.   -  istock/jcrosemann

The ruling BJP is locked in a tight contest with the opposition Congress and the fledgling JJP for the 90 Assembly seats that will go to polls in Haryana on Monday.

While the Congress is hoping to make a comeback following the change in guard in the state, the BJP has set a target to bag at least 75 seats in the contest in which 1,169 candidates of various political outfits are in the fray. Currently, the BJP has 48 members in the 90-member state Assembly.

The Dushyant Chautala-led Jannayak Janta Party (JJP), a breakaway faction of the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), is also hoping for an improvement in its prospects following the Lok Sabha debacle.

Tight security

The party had emerged on the scene following a feud in the Chautala clan in Decamber last year. The polling will be held at 19,578 stations from 7 am to 6 pm, Chief Electoral Officer, Haryana, Anurag Agarwal, said. Tight security arrangements have been made and over 75,000 security personnel have been mobilised for the polls, DGP Manoj Yadava said on Saturday.

Over 1.83 crore voters, including 85 lakh women and 252 transgenders, are eligible to vote. As many as 27,611 voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) machines will be used for the Assembly elections. The main contest is seen among the BJP, Congress and the JJP. However, Chief Minister Khattar claimed that the opposition was in “disarray” and the BJP had no direct contest with any party.

The BSP, AAP, INLD-SAD combine, Swaraj India and the Loktantra Suraksha Party (LSP) have thrown the hat into the ring, though none of them is fighting on all 90 seats. In the 2014 Assembly polls, the BJP for the first time came to power in Haryana on its own strength.

Poll campaigning

During the poll campaigning, which came to an end on Saturday evening, the BJP made revoking provisions of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir and other issues surrounding nationalism a major poll plank.

The Congress, JJP, INLD, AAP, BSP and other opponents targeted the Khattar government over unemployment, economy, farmers distress and alleged scams including mining and cash-for-jobs scam and “deteriorating” law and order situation in the state. In the polls, all eyes will be on which party the Jat community, which constitutes nearly 25 per cent of state’s population, votes this time.

The BJP has fielded 20 candidates from the community, JJP 33 and Congress 26. The high-voltage electioneering saw the BJP fielding a galaxy of leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, his cabinet colleagues Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh and Smriti Irani.

BJP’s Hema Malini, Sunny Deol and Gautam Gambhir also canvassed for the party. Rahul Gandhi, Ghulam Nabi Azad and Ashok Gehlot were among the prominent faces who campaigned for the Congress.

Published on October 20, 2019

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