CHANDIGARH: The BJP lost seats from Northern, Southern and Central Haryana in the Assembly elections as the Jats in these regions consolidated in favour of the Congress and Jannayak Janata Party (JJP) and the non-Jats failed to do so for the saffron party.
Anti-incumbency, wrong distribution of tickets, over-confidence, low voter turnout in the urban areas and dominance of local issues as against the party’s national narrative of abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir also played their role against the BJP.
The saffron party could manage to win only fourteen seats in these elections out of the 27 seats in the seven districts of Panipat, Karnal, Kurukshetra, Yamunanagar, Kaithal, Ambala and Panchkula.
In the 2014 elections, it had won 22 seats from this part of the state. It won three seats - Karnal, Gharaunda and Indri - in Karnal, the home district of Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar. A BJP rebel won from Nilokheri and Congress won the Assandh seat.
Also, the party did not perform as per expectations in Southern Haryana (Gurgaon, Rewari, Mahendragarh, Faridabad, Palwal, Mewat, Bhiwani and Charkhi Dadri). It won 26 seats this time compared to 28 in the 2014 elections.
The saffron party could manage to win only three seats in Central Haryana (Sonepat, Rohtak, Jind and Jhajjar districts) where it had won five seats in 2014.
The only consolation for the BJP is from the north-western part (Hisar, Fatehabad and Sirsa districts) of Haryana. There, it won five seats as compared to three seats in the last assembly elections.
While former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda helped the party win seats in his Deswali heartland (Rohtak, Jhajjar and Sonepat districts), Dushyant Chautala of the JJP managed to bag seats in Bhiwani, Hisar, Fatehabad and Jind.
Sources in the party admit that during the polls, people talked of unemployment and a general slowdown of business due to demonetisation and GST which went against the party. Also, the party fielded only 20 Jat candidates as compared to 24 last time. Out of these 20 nominees, 15 lost the elections. There was heavy voting in the rural constituencies which have a sizeable Jat vote bank.
Tulsi Grewal, chief of Mehan Khap, one of the biggest in the state said, "All the arrogant BJP ministers and leaders have lost as the Jats voted in favour of Hooda and Chautala. Abhimanyu and Barala of the BJP lost. The 2015 Jat agitation had strained relations between the BJP and the community."
Karan Singh Mathana, acting president of Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) Haryana, says, "BJP government did nothing for farmers in these past five years. The farmers, who got fed up with the government, voted against them to show them their place."
The Jat community, which accounts for 27 per cent of the population and plays a major role in 37 seats, dominated the political scene for decades and holds the key to power in the state.