Friday 1 July 2022
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Haryana election turns into a triangular contest

It’s the BJP’s grassroots mobilization versus the outreach of Bhupinder Singh Hooda versus the ‘try us once’ appeal from Arvind Kejriwal in Haryana now

The coming assembly election in Haryana will be a triangular contest, thanks to the foray of the AAP in the state that has so far witnessed a bipolar polity with the BJP and the INC being the only claimants to power. All the three parties are holding rallies in the state today, ahead of the civic polls in June.

While Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar is holding a Pragati Rally in Sirsa, Arvind Kejriwal wants to expand his party’s footprint with a big event in Kurukshetra. Former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda of the INC is in Fatehabad to resume his local outreach programme.

The ruling BJP has been trying to take stock at the grassroots level and highlight the achievements of the Khattar government. The chief minister will hold an event in Gurugram too.

BJP leader Manish Yadav tweeted a video with details of the Gurugram event (edited): “Honourable Chief Minister of Haryana, Honourable Mr ML Khattar will address ‘Haryana Pragati Rally’ at Parking Ground, in front of the Mini Secretariat at 05:00 PM #Gurugram today. You are all cordially invited.”

“Haryana men bhi Kejriwal” and “Ab badlega Haryana” are messages that the AAP will splash on the walls with posters and banners while also extensively using social media and advertisements in mainstream media. “The rally will be historic and will leave a message of change in Haryana politics,” said Sushil Gupta, the man in charge of AAP Haryana.

Kejriwal’s family hails from Haryana, but how much that will play as an emotive factor is doubtful, given his party’s poor shows in the constituencies of the state at the two Lok Sabha elections, 2014 and 2019. After the mega win in the Punjab assembly election in February-March, however, the AAP is trying to make inroads in other states too.

Haryana Congress is trying to increase its visibility in the state. With the “Vipaksh aapke Samaksh” (opposition before you) campaign, the party has been trying to mobilise support. “Haryana Congress’s ‘Opposition Aapke Saamne’ programme continues. The Haryana Congress Legislature Party will communicate directly with you to listen to the problems of the people of Haryana who are suffering from the BJP-JJP government. (sic),” Hooda said in a tweet in Hindi ahead of the Fatehabad event.

Editor’s note: If the INC and AAP both attack the BJP in their respective campaigns, the result will turn pro-incumbent. While the BJP must avoid attacking any one of the opposition parties, creating the impression the other is not in the contest, it will suffer. Otherwise, the ruling party has succeeded in all state elections where the contest was triangular. On his part, Hooda must revive his crowd-pulling capacity and make sure he does not focus too much on Rohtak. Kejriwal must go beyond his by-now-monotonous anti-corruption pitch and municipal ideas.

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