Chandigarh: In the Haryana civic body polls, the Bharatiya Janata Party and Jannayak Janata Party combine won in the absence of Congress, and a large number of independents won because of the Congress.
But despite somewhat of a comfortable majority in the municipal council and municipal committee polls, the BJP’s performance was dismal on Chief Minister of Haryana Manohar Lal Khattar’s home turf Karnal.
It lost three of the four seats for the post of president for municipal committees to independent candidates. The BJP-JJP alliance fielded candidates in Assandh, Gharaunda, Nissing, and Taraori. BJP could just win the post of president in Assandh with Happy Luck Gupta defeating Surinder Singla by a narrow margin of 31 votes. It lost the remaining three.
The BJP which contested 34 seats, won 22 seats; its alliance partner JJP won three in the civic body polls for the post of presidents and members of 28 municipal committees and 18 municipal councils. The second-highest number of winners were independents who bagged 19 seats, and one each went to the Indian National Lok Dal INLD and Aam Aadmi Party AAP.
Hooda And Surjewala-backed Candidates Also Lose
Though Congress did not fight the elections, it did support independent candidates and only six such candidates backed by Congress won. However, candidates in Jhajjar and Bahadurgarh which is the stronghold of Leader of Opposition Bhupinder Singh Hooda and were backed by him lost the elections. Similarly, the candidates supported by Randeep Singh Surjewala too lost from Kaithal. However, Congress claimed that most of the independents won because of their vote and support.
Neither Good News For BJP-JJP Nor For Congress
A keen watcher of Haryana affairs Harish Vashisht said, that Congress left the field open due to their internal rift and also because they weren’t confident, in that scenario BJP-JJP mustered the majority, but barely. And, as a result, independents won in huge numbers. So it’s difficult to say who should rejoice in such a situation. BJP has strengthened itself in urban areas, just that and nothing more.
Surinder Sharma from Rohtak who keenly follows Haryana politics said, “Many of these independent candidates were backed by the Congress officially and also Indian National Lok Dal INLD which resulted in such a large number of independent candidates winning. Congress would have fared better had the party been together.”
But he adds, that this verdict has come two years ahead of the Haryana assembly elections, and it does offer a hazy picture of what may happen. “Neither good news for BJP-JJP nor for the Congress. Like in the 2019 assembly elections, BJP-JJP just managed to cross the finish line then, and they managed to cross the finish line now. As regards Congress, it was short of the finish line then, and now, considering that many independent candidates won because of their support, it looks like they are the same outfit which is indulging in more infighting than fighting the political opponents.”
A former Haryana Congress leader now with the BJP puts it interestingly. Ranjeet Mehta, the Chairperson of the Haryana State Council for Child Welfare said, “Congress is claiming that many independents won by their support. And look, soon these so-called Congress-backed candidates will join BJP.”