Why “Brand Modi” Could Not Help BJP in Haryana?
10 out 10 Lok Sabha seats and 58% vote share, BJP under Narendra Modi’s leadership broke all the records in the state Haryana during Lok Sabha 2019. The Jatland blessed BJP and the opposition in the state lost all hopes of retaining power the state. Manohar Lal Khattar was as confident as was the opposition of him returning to power with a bigger mandate than what BJP got in 2014 Assembly Election in state.
In 2014, Assembly Election in Haryana, BJP for the first time formed Government on its own in the state. To a surprise of all, a non-Jat Manohar Lal Khattar was chosen by BJP high command to lead the state’s government. In five years of his governance, he has been labelled as a leader with clean image and his government being away from corruption. However, the 2019 Assembly election went completely against what BJP has thought about. From “Mission 75”, party was reduced to mere 40 seats, 6 short of majority. To add to distress of BJP, the party that won 58% vote share in 2019 Lok Sabha election could manage only 36%, down by 22% percentage. What went wrong for BJP in the state?
The journey from 4 seats in 2009 to 47 seats in 2014 was very much difficult for BJP. However, after Modi came to power in 2014 at Centre BJP seemed to have consolidated the state completely. The main political parties in the state, Congress and INLD became ineffective. Congress was struggling was its internal, INLD was broken into two. Moreover, the 2019 Lok Sabha election was enough to prove BJP’s dominance in the state. But results of Assembly election was enough to bring back the party to face the ultimate reality, “State elections are not won by fighting on national issues”.
BJP failed to win the hearts of Jat voters. This was proved when BJP’s firebrand Jat leader, Capt Abhimanyu lost the election. Clearly the Jats voted in favour of Congress and the newly formed Dushyant Chautala’s JJP. Added to it BJP was unable to consolidate the non-Jat voters behind it though they had a non-Jat, Manohar Lal Khattar as their CM face.
Ticket distribution has proved to be a nightmare for BJP in the state. Roping in the celebrities and giving them tickets did not go well with BJP. Moreover, preference of turncoats over its loyal workers proved to be disaster for the party. Party denied tickets to 12 of its sitting legislators. In Dadri town BJP gave ticket to wrestler Babita Phogat, she lost the election to BJP rebel Sombir Sangwan by a margin of 19000 votes. In Prithla BJP rebel Nayan Pal Rawat won as an Independent and in Meham too, former BJP leader won the election.
In some seats BJP rebels though lost cost the seat to BJP. BJP failure to persuade its rebel from contesting did hurt the party in the state.
Lower voter turnout have always affected BJP’s performance in any state election. However, one must not deny the fact, BJP leader’s over dependence on PM Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah. The state elections are fought with local issues, however, BJP’s campaign in the state mostly featured national issue rather than the local ones. The local MLA’s and the CM himself expected to bank on the image of Prime Minister Modi and the recent historical decisions made by the Central government.
BJP won 40 Assembly seats, 7 less than what it had won in 2014 Assembly election. Most of the ministers of Khattar government lost the election. Even BJP state President Subhash Barala failed to win and thereby he resigned from his post. Congress which was considered to be non-entity in the state saw its revival winning 31 Assembly seats. BJP may however go on to form the government in the state with the support of the independent MLA’s. However, message was clear, if you want to be in power in states you need to work or else you will perish. Both Maharashtra and Haryana assembly results was enough to hit the ears of BJP leaders all over the country. “Brand Modi” gifted them five years, now it is up to them to built a brand of themselves if they want to be in power.