All through the campaign, the BJP has been way ahead of the opposition in the state.
The recent municipal corporation elections are a testimony to its preparedness.
Right from early this year when the BJP managed to win all five major municipal corporation elections and subsequently won the Jind by-elections with a thumping margin, it became evident that the ruling party was leading the caravan, unlike its opponents.
A clean sweep in all the 10 Lok Sabha seats in Haryana made the case for BJP’s comeback even stronger in the state.
Now the last date for ticket withdrawal has passed and with a clear picture of candidates, it becomes all the more clear that the BJP is managing to score very well in all aspects.
Be it energising the cadre, conducting surveys or assessments of potential candidates, bringing in professional support or establishing a narrative around good governance, the party has left no stone unturned to paint an image of a party with hard and fast leadership.
On one hand, when the Congress was still figuring out who should be leading the campaign even a month before the elections, the BJP was chest-thumping about its ‘Mission 75+’.
Holistically, BJP seems to be running much ahead of all the other three major parties namely Congress, Jannayak Janata Party (JJP) and Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) combined.
To delve deeper into the prevailing situations in these three not-so-visible rivals of the BJP will help the reader grasp the picture better.
Congress: After the infamous dharna by maverick Ashok Tanwar at 10-Janpath and his subsequent resignation from the party, it was child’s play to speculate that the epochal party was, in fact, in the doldrums.
Although Bhupinder Singh Hooda has taken charge and seems to be working hard to regain the party’s credibility, it was Tanwar who worked for five years on the ground and, amidst the ‘Modi wave’, managed to increase the vote share of the Congress in the state.
Having said that, the Congress is only left with a handful and rather feudalistic leaders in the state such as Hooda, Randeep Singh Surjewala, Kumari Selja and Kuldeep Bishnoi, with absolutely no new face to present.
The cadre that worked with Tanwar in the last assembly elections seems to be in a state of confusion and has become indecisive. If internal sources are to be believed, the situation is such that leaders are not even ready to fight the election and are cajoling the party to resort to not so promising faces.
It seems the youth factor has also failed to make ends meet for the Congress with not even a single youth leader at its disposal whereas BJP has fielded the early bird youth icon Manish Yadav from Gurugram.
Jannayak Janta Party: Initially, JJP was the only potentially significant opposition seen in the state but as time passed, the party too lost its credibility. Leaders from the JJP have joined the BJP in bulk including some official candidates, leaving the party with no option but to give a walk over to BJP.
Indian National Lok Dal: As the Lok Sabha elections tell, INLD couldn’t even gain 2 per cent of the votes in the state. Out of the few who stayed, almost all left the party in a quandary, dragging the party out of the discussion completely.
Although BJP has been ahead since Day One, they have managed to stay the course. Be it rallies or motivational talks by top leaders or pursuing continuous poaching (if I may call it so) of leaders/influencers from other parties, BJP has tested all the waters to establish victory and to expand its margin of votes.
Their social media pages were up and running when other parties were still gearing up to sense the breeze of elections. Post the clean sweep in the Lok Sabha elections, BJP hasn’t rested and has rather been busy in a membership drive, ashirvad yatra, bike rallies etc.
And such drivers always help in infusing energy and pumping confidence in the cadre in addition to sending a strong message to the electorate depicting the strength of the party.
These steps have re-instantiated the foothold of the BJP from the likes of a serious, diligent and consistent political party. All the aforesaid qualities very much build a sense of trust and reliance amongst the electorate for the party.
As far as ticket selection and managing of internal conflicts go, BJP managed the logistics with extreme ease.
In any situation demanding immediate perusal like in the case of two ministers of state in the Union government, Rao Inderjeet Singh asking for a seat at the table for his daughter or Krishanpal Gujjar asking for a ticket for his son, the party has passed them with flying colours.
In addition to this, BJP denied ticket to two cabinet ministers Vipul Goyal and Rao Narbir Singh simultaneously. Eventually, we saw that these four bigwigs supported the candidates announced by the party in public.
Whereas, in similar cases in other parties, defection is more vibrant or allegations of fund misappropriation in public are at their peak. A few examples include INLD state president Ashok Arora joining the Congress and more than 5 ex-MPs and ex-MLAs joining the BJP.
While the BJP fought the municipal corporation elections on its party strength, other parties couldn’t even overcome their internal fights and ended up not fielding any candidates.
One aspect of PM Modi’s method which also worked well was careful crafting of narratives. Ensuring last-mile delivery of a few select schemes such as Ujjwala, Mudra and Toilets produced results.
Likewise, Khattar also scored solid points in matters such as complete fairness and transparency in teacher transfers, merit-based jobs and the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao programme.
No political interference was entertained in any of these three areas and this has sent a strong message down the line that the CM means business.
In addition, emotive issues such as Article 370, Balakot strikes and nationalism seem to be working in favour of the BJP.
One might contest, criticise or appreciate the methodology and tactics used by the BJP but the bottom line is that the BJP has a clear edge in the coming Assembly elections of Haryana.