New Delhi: The Haryana elections have thrown up a surprise with early trends indicating a hung assembly as the Congress is giving the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) a close fight.
According to CNN News18, as of 10.50 am, the BJP was ahead in 36 seats, the Congress in 32 and the Dushyant Chautala-led Jannayak Janta Party (JJP) in 12 seats.
The trends should be a shot in the arm for the Congress as a majority of the exit polls had predicted a rout for the party in the state. It’s a setback for the BJP that had set its sights on 75 of the 90 seats. The party had won 47 seats in the 2014 elections.
The halfway mark is 46 in the 90-member Haryana assembly.
JJP may the kingmaker
The tight race has shifted focus on the regional outfit, the JJP. Its chief, Dushyant Chautala, is leading his assembly segment of Uchana Kalan and may play kingmaker ahead of the next government formation.
The Congress party, as trends indicate, is also defying expectations and is leading in 32 segments. If the Congress manages to maintain its lead, it will gain 16 seats from its previous tally of 15 in the state. The party was looking at dim prospects as it was riven with factionalism and saw a change in top leadership at the last moment.
Party stalwart and former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Hooda is ahead in his constituency of Garhi-Sampla Kiloi but the party’s national spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala is in a neck-and-neck battle in Kaithal.
Hooda had led a high-powered campaign in Haryana.
The Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), which dominated the state’s politics for decades, is set for a complete decimation and is leading in just two seats.
Turn in the Jat vote
The trends indicate that the BJP’s strategy to consolidate the non-Jat vote may not have paid off this time.
The party had relied on this and the Modi factor to win successive elections, with even Jats voting for the party in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
But the Modi factor took a backseat in the assembly polls, with voters appearing to have weighed out caste equations and sticking to local candidates.
With the INLD eliminated from the equation, the Jat vote appears to have been divided between the Congress and the JJP.