Chandigarh: Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s recent assertion that the “lotus (BJP’s symbol) will bloom on all 10 (Lok Sabha) seats in Haryana” may have come as a dampener for Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Singh Chautala. Only last month, the Jannayak Janata Party (JJP) leader had announced that his party will contest the 2024 polls in alliance with the BJP.
Addressing a state unit rally at Gohana, Sonipat, virtually Sunday, Shah appealed to the people to bring Prime Minister Narendra Modi back to power in 2024.
The rally was held under the Lok Sabha Pravas Yojna of the BJP whereby senior leaders hold public meetings in the 160 constituencies the party failed to win in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
In Haryana, the BJP is focusing on Sirsa, Rohtak, and Sonipat — Gohana is a part of the Sonipat parliamentary constituency.
The Lok Sabha polls are due in May 2024. Haryana will also have assembly polls later that year as the term of the current Vidhan Sabha ends in October.
Last December, Dushyant had announced that his party will contest the 2024 polls in alliance with BJP. “It was decided when we entered into an alliance after the 2019 polls,” he had said in Chandigarh.
A month before that, the JJP had announced that it would contest 18 assembly seats, preferably in alliance with BJP, in Rajasthan in the 2023 assembly polls.
Speaking to ThePrint over phone, Dushyant said, “Our party entered into an alliance with the BJP in 2019. The alliance still exists. All I can say is that the two parties are in an alliance and will contest the upcoming polls together.”
He, however, refused to react to Shah’s recent appeal to Haryana voters to help the lotus bloom on all Lok Sabha seats in the state. “Every party makes its own preparations for the polls. We too hold public meetings across the state. But at the same time, our party is in alliance with BJP, and we have decided that both parties will contest the upcoming polls together.”
However, Amit Shah’s claim should not be seen in isolation as this is not the first time that the BJP has surprised its junior partner JJP in Haryana.
In May 2022, the BJP had unilaterally announced its decision to go it alone in the municipal corporation polls in Haryana. “Shah’s statement has sent signals across the state that the BJP is capable of contesting all the 10 seats on its own and it may not need JJP’s support in 2024 Parliamentary polls,” a political observer, who did not wish to be named, told ThePrint.
Political observer and veteran journalist Yogender Gupta said that Shah may be signalling that if the JJP wants to contest the coming parliamentary polls in alliance with the BJP, its candidates will have to do so on the lotus symbol.
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How the allies came together
The BJP and JJP had contested the 2019 Lok Sabha elections separately. While the former won all 10 seats in the state, the latter drew a blank, with Dushyant losing Hisar to BJP’s Brijendra Singh and his younger brother Digvijay losing his security deposit at Sonipat against BJP’s Ramesh Kaushik.
The party was then a few months old, floated after Indian National Lok Dal chief Om Prakash Chautala expelled elder son and former MP Ajay Chautala, and the latter’s sons Dushyant and Digvijay.
In 2014, Dushyant contested for the Lok Sabha from the Hisar seat on an INLD ticket and became the youngest MP at the age of 26.
After the 2019 Lok Sabha debacle, the JJP performed well in assembly polls in October 2019 by winning 10 seats.
With the BJP falling short of a majority by six seats — it won 40 of 90 seats — it cobbled together an alliance with the JJP to form the government under Chief Manohar Lal Khattar and Dushyant became the deputy CM at the age of 30.
(Edited by Smriti Sinha)
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