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Haryana panchayat polls get HC nod; Congress faces new challenger in AAP, litmus test for BJP

The HC’s nod to hold the panchayat elections is set to raise the political temperate in the state, where parties have been warming up in anticipation of a high-stakes contest. 

The HC’s nod to hold the panchayat elections is set to raise the political temperate in the state, where parties have been warming up in anticipation of a high-stakes contest. 

The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Wednesday granted permission to the Haryana government to hold the much-awaited panchayat elections. The court had ordered stay on polls basis multiple petitions which have been filed challenging some amendments made by the state government in the Panchayati Raj Act.

The term of the village panchayats in Haryana had ended on February 23, 2021. Opposition parties in Haryana have claimed that development work in the villages had been hampered on account of delay in holding the panchayat elections, with the Congress targeting the BJP-JJP government, accusing it of running away from the polls.

The HC’s nod to hold the panchayat elections is set to raise the political temperate in the state, where parties have been warming up in anticipation of a high-stakes contest. 

A revamped Congress, with Hoodas in drivers’ seat, seek to regain lost ground in the state while the Aam Aadmi Party eyes further expansion after its Punjab victory. On the other hand, it is not clear if alliance partners — the BJP and the JJP — will high the panchayat polls together. 

The state government, where the two share power, has already rolled out several schemes to woo the rural voters, including free tablets to over 5 lakh students of government schools and free mobile phones to village Numberdars. 

The now depleted INLD has also been covering the length and breadth of the state with an aim to revive its fortunes.   

These elections will set the tone for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls and the Assembly elections, scheduled to be held soon after that in October 2024.

The poll contest will be a litmus test for the BJP and the JJP as rural voters in the state will get to electorally express themselves for the first time after the end of massive farmers’ protest that lasted over a year.

The Indian Express quoted sources saying that from the way the BJP and the JJP have been conducting their ‘public connect’ programmes, it seems likely that they will contest separately.

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