BJP Aims For 10/10 In Haryana Again In Lok Sabha Polls, Faces INDIA Bloc Challenge

The state will vote in the sixth phase, on May 25.

BJP Aims For 10/10 In Haryana Again In Lok Sabha Polls, Faces INDIA Bloc Challenge

The Congress is contesting nine seats and its ally, the AAP, will be fighting from one.


Just days before the elections were announced, the ruling BJP made a bold move in Haryana. It replaced Manohar Lal Khattar with state unit president Nayab Singh Saini as chief minister, broke its coalition with the JJP and proved its majority through a trust vote in the assembly.

The chief minister switch comes a few months ahead of the assembly polls, and the BJP may have wanted to bring in a fresh face after the two Khattar terms.

But the move is also seen as an attempt to consolidate Haryana's non-Jat vote for the parliamentary polls which will be held in the state on May 25 in the sixth phase of voting.

Mr Saini is from the Other Backward Class community and will help in the consolidation of the non-Jat vote in the state.

Simultaneously, the BJP has ditched the Jannayak Janta Party, which came to its rescue when it failed to win a majority in the Vidhan Sabha after the 2019 assembly polls.

Earlier that year, the BJP had won all 10 Lok Sabha seats in Haryana. Particularly after the recent moves, the party is aiming for a repeat performance.

Routed in the last general election, the Congress is the main opposition to the BJP in the state. In a seat-sharing arrangement with the Aam Aadmi Party, the Congress is fighting nine seats in the state, leaving Kurukshetra for the AAP.

The JJP and its parent party, the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), too are in the fray. Both woo the Jat vote.

The BJP will look to cash in on the "clean image" and "transparent administration" provided by previous chief minister Khattar, and highlight the work done by the BJP governments at the Centre and in the state over the past decade.

The Congress is counting on the anti-incumbency factor, somewhat mitigated by the change of CM's.

It will also bank on the popularity of state leaders like former state chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Randeep Singh Surjewala and Kumari Selja.

In 2019, among the major upsets for the Congress was Mr Hooda's defeat to BJP's Ramesh Chander Kaushik from Sonipat. The party also lost Rohtak, the only seat it had won in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

Over the years, the BJP has been trying to make inroads in the Jat-dominated Deswali belt which also comprises the Sonipat and Rohtak regions.

In 2014, the BJP won seven of the eight seats it contested, while the INLD won two and the Congress one - a less one-sided affair than the 2019 polls.

The BJP's Sunita Duggal was the lone woman to win in 2019, defeating Ashok Tanwar, the then Haryana Congress chief from the Sirsa reserved seat. Mr Tanwar joined the BJP in January this year after leaving the AAP.

In the outgoing Lok Sabha, the prominent faces among the BJP's 10 Haryana MPs include Union ministers Rao Inderjit Singh (Gurugram), Krishan Pal (Faridabad) and Nayab Singh Saini (Kurukshetra).

The Ambala seat fell vacant last year after the death of Rattan Lal Kataria.

Members of key Congress families fell during the 2019 sweep by the BJP. While Mr Hooda lost in Sonipat, Shruti Choudhary, who is the granddaughter of former chief minister Bansi Lal, lost from Bhiwani-Mahendergarh.

Bhavya Bishnoi, the grandson of former chief minister Bhajan Lal, lost in Hisar as the BJP conquered the traditional strongholds of the Congress. Bishnoi is now with the BJP and an MLA from the Adampur assembly segment.

In 2019, JJP's Dushyant Chautala, a great-grandson of Devi Lal, lost to BJP's Brijendra Singh, bureaucrat-turned-politician and son of former Union minister Birender Singh. Brijendra Singh recently switched to the Congress.

The AAP, which had an alliance with the Jannayak Janata Party for the 2019 parliamentary polls, unsuccessfully contested three seats.

The BJP bagged 58 per cent of the vote and the Congress 28 per cent in the last parliamentary election. The INLD was decimated, garnering fewer than two per cent of the vote. The AAP was nowhere then, winning about a third of a percentage point. 

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)