While the ruling BJP made the scrapping of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir a major poll plank, the opposition slammed the government over issues of unemployment and farmers' distress during electioneering.
The campaigning for the Haryana assembly elections ended on Saturday evening with Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing two rallies in Rewari and Ellenabad on the last day. The elections will be held on October 21, results of which will be declared on October 24. Of the over 1.83 crore voters, over 83 lakh are women. As many as 19,578 polling stations, 13,837 of these in rural areas, had been set up across the state amid tight security arrangements, officials said. The state has 90 assembly segments, for which 1,169 candidates, including 105 women, are in the fray.
While the ruling BJP made the scrapping of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir a major poll plank, the opposition slammed the government over issues of unemployment and farmers’ distress during electioneering. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party has set a target of bagging over 75 seats. Currently it has 48 members in the 90-member assembly.
To give a boost to the election campaigning, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held two rallies in Ellenabad in Sirsa and Rewari. Prominent amongst those in the contest are Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar (Karnal), former CM and Congress Legislative Party leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda (Garhi Sampla-Kiloi), Randeep Singh Surjewala (Kaithal), Kiran Choudhary (Tosham) and Kuldeep Bishnoi (Adampur). Besides, JJP’s Dushyant Chautala (Uchana Kalan), INLD’s Abhay Singh Chautala (Ellenabad), state BJP chief Subhash Barala (Tohana), lone woman minister Kavita Jain (Sonipat), ministers Ram Bilas Sharma (Mahendergarh), Anil Vij (Ambala Cantt), O P Dhankar (Badli) and Capt Abhimanyu (Narnaund) are also in the fray.
The BJP has fielded three sportspersons-Babita Phogat (Dadri), Yogeshwar Dutt (Baroda in Sonipat) and Sandeep Singh (Pehowa)–besides TikTok artist Sonali Phogat (Adampur). The main contest is seen between the BJP, Congress and the Jannayak Janata Party. However, CM Khattar claimed that the opposition was in disarray and the BJP has no direct contest with any party. The BSP, AAP, INLD-SAD combine, Swaraj India and the Loktantra Suraksha Party (LSP) have thrown the hat into the ring, though none of them is fighting on all 90 seats.
The high-voltage electioneering saw the BJP fielding a galaxy of leaders, including PM Modi, his cabinet colleagues Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh and Smriti Irani. BjP’s Hema Malini, Sunny Deol and Gautam Gambhir also canvassed for the party. Rahul Gandhi and Ghulam Nabi Azad were among the prominent faces for the Congress. Yogendra Yadav campaigned for his party Swaraj India, which is contesting on 27 seats.
JJP’s Dushyant Chautala criss-crossed the state for his party candidates before former Congress chief Ashok Tanwar quit his party and announced his support to the JJP and campaigned for it. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal stayed away from campaigning for the Aam Aadmi Party, whis is fighting on 46 seats. BSP chief Mayawati campaigned for her party, which is contesting on 87 seats. The INLD’s Abhay Chautala also campaigned for his party, contesting on 86 seats, while its ally SAD is fighting on three seats.
Former Kurukshetra MP Raj Kumar Saini sought votes for the LSP, contesting on 71 seats. The BJP made the scrapping of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir a major poll plank. It also promised the National Register of Citizens in the state. In his two rallies in Nuh and Mahendragarh, former Congress president Rahul Gandhi said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had no understanding of the economy and claimed that the world was mocking India as the BJP was pitting people against each other. Attacking the government over the state of economy, Rahul Gandhi said unemployment was the highest in the past 40 years in the country and farmers were committing suicide.
Congress’ Bhupinder Singh Hooda and other opposition leaders, including JJP’s Dushyant Chautala and INLD’s Abhay Chautala, attacked the BJP, alleging non-fulfilment of promises, deteriorating law and order situation and unemployment. The Congress and the INLD promised debt waiver for farmers. Ahead of the polls, the BJP denied tickets to 12 of its sitting legislators, which included two ministers-Vipul Goel (Faridabad) and Rao Narbir Singh (Badshahpur).
Of the 12 legislators, Randhir Kapriwas turned rebel and entered the fray from Rewari. The Congress retained its sitting legislators while the Indian National Lok Dal, which witnessed a split last year owing to a feud in the Chautala clan, saw its prominent faces switching over to the BJP, Congress and the JJP. In the 2014 assembly polls, the BJP had won 47 seats. It won the Jind bypolls earlier this year, taking the total strength to 48. The INLD had 19 MLAs while the Congress has 17 legislators. The BSP and the SAD had bagged one seat each in the last polls while five were Independents.