An exercise to filter out illegal immigrants similar to the one carried out in Assam is likely to be one of the major political issues in Haryana as parties step up their state election campaign in the northern state. At least 1.82 crore people will vote in Haryana on October 21; the results will be out three days later.
Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar of the BJP last week said Haryana would run the National Register of Citizens (NRC) exercise to identity illegal immigrants. The BJP expects the process to be a hit with voters in Haryana, where local unemployment has often been blamed on migrants.
Mr Khattar was made Chief Minister in 2014 after the BJP won 47 seats in the 90-seat assembly. The Congress then won 15 seats, the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) took 19 and other regional parties and independents secured the rest. The BJP also swept the national election in Haryana this year, taking seven of the 10 Lok Sabha seats.
The Congress in Haryana is working on regrouping and reassessing its strength following a string of losses in the national election. The Congress's in-charge of Haryana, Ghulam Nabi Azad, and former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda have been travelling to assembly constituencies, especially Gurgaon and Faridabad, to firm up support ahead of the state election.
"Regional parties that do not toe the BJP's line are getting weak and their existence is under threat. Realising that only Congress party can throw a stiff challenge to the BJP, leaders of such parties have started to come under the Congress fold," Mr Azad said last week after an independent MLA and four INLD leaders joined the Congress.
The INLD, a party founded by former Deputy Prime Minister Devi Lal, split in 2018 following a feud in the Chautala family. Former Hisar MP Dushyant Chautala, grandson of former Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala and son of Ajay Chautala, launched the Jannayak Janta Party (JJP). The INLD continues to have trouble due to the family feud.
The JJP has tied up with Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) to contest the Haryana election. In the national election this year, Dushyant Chautala's party forged an alliance with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party while the BJP went with INLD.
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