Chandigarh: Is the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) planning to ditch its ally, the Jannayak Janata Party (JJP), in Haryana? BJP state president Om Parkash Dhankar has joined Union Home Minister Amit Shah to seemingly send such cryptic messages to party leaders ahead of the next year’s state and general elections.
On Saturday, Dhankar urged BJP workers to prepare for retaining all the 10 Lok Sabha seats in Haryana in the upcoming parliamentary elections, thereby triggering talks of the possibility of the party going it alone in the polls.
Dhankar made this statement at Hisar while addressing ‘Shakti Kendra Pramukhs Sammelan’ of 10 districts coming under Sirsa, Hisar, Kurukshetra, and Bhiwani Parliamentary constituencies.
Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and Biplab Kumar Deb, the BJP in-charge for Haryana, were present at the party’s event.
Speaking to media persons on the sidelines of the Sammelan, Dhankar went a step further to remark that even the JJP wants Dushyant Chautala to get rid of the word ‘deputy’ (an indirect reference of his position as deputy chief minister) from his name.
In 2019, the BJP won 40 out of 90 assembly seats and formed a government in alliance with the JJP that won 10 seats. While the general election is likely to take place in May next year, the assembly election is due in October 2024.
This is not the first time that a senior BJP leader has given hints of the party contesting alone, with Shah asserting at a rally in Gohana on 30 January that the Lotus (BJP’s symbol) would bloom on all the 10 Haryana Lok Sabha seats in 2024.
Earlier, in polls for local bodies held in June last year, the BJP had dumped the JJP and had decided to go it alone. It cornered 22 posts of presidents of the total 46 municipal committees and councils that went to polls on 19 June. The JJP managed only three.
Contacted by The Print on his phone, Dhankar tried to play down his statement and said every party prepares for all the parliamentary and assembly seats.
Asked to comment on his statement that the JJP also wants Dushyant Chautala to shed the word ‘deputy’, he said that the media has been writing this while reporting the meetings of the ruling ally.
But, deputy CM Dushyant Chautala asserted that his party was in alliance with the BJP and that it would continue in the upcoming polls.
“Media has started speculating about the parting ways of the BJP and the JJP within months of the formation of the alliance in October 2019. However, our alliance has worked very well all these years,” Chautala told ThePrint over his phone.
The Haryana deputy CM said that there was nothing unusual in the two allies preparing for all the seats in the state because the distribution of seats always happens close to the polls.
Asked to comment on Dhankar’s ‘deputy’ remark, Dushyant said that it could be the “sentiments of some JJP workers, but this is not the stand of his party”.
“Our party is in alliance with the BJP in Haryana and we will be contesting the next year’s polls together. How many and which of the 10 (Lok Sabha) seats our party contests, how many and which comes in BJP’s share will be decided when the time comes,” the JJP president said.
Meanwhile, three former MLAs — Padam Singh Dahiya, Mularam Gurjar (JJP), and Bijendra Kadian (AAP) — were among the 56 political leaders who joined the Congress party on Sunday in presence of the Leader of the Opposition Bhupinder Singh Hooda.
Talking to ThePrint on phone on Monday, Hooda said that the people were fed up with the BJP-JJP government and added that more leaders from other parties would join the Congress in the coming days.
(Edited by Tony Rai)
Also Read: Chautala feud on boil, Abhay moves HC after House battle with nephew Dushyant leads to suspension