The Manohar Lal Khattar-led BJP is likely to form government in the state, with the exit poll surveys predicting a landslide victory to the party. While India Today-Axis My India exit poll will release its predictions on the Haryana Assembly election results on Tuesday evening, other major exit poll surveys done by Times Now, Republic TV, ABP News, TV9 Bharatvarsh and News18 have predicted a big win for the saffron party. Of total 90 Assembly seats, the ABP News-CVoter forecast 72 seats for the BJP. Times has also given 71 seats for the party. CNN-IPSOS predicted 75 seats for the BJP, while TV9-Bharatvarsh said the party could only win 47 seats and gave Congress a total of 23 seats. Most other surveys predicted 8-11 seats for the INC.Political parties in the race
The main contest is between the BJP and Congress on several seats but the new Jannayak Janta Party (JJP), which broke away from the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), is being closely watched.
The ruling BJP, which parted ways from the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) ahead of the polls, is moving full throttle to realise its target of bagging over 75 seats in the 90-member Assembly. The SAD announced its break-up with the BJP after its lone MLA from Kalanwali assembly constituency switched to the saffron party. The buzz is that the BJP had also denied SAD 20-25 seats to contest from in the Haryana bypolls.
Hence, the SAD subsequently stitched ties with former partner INLD. These two parties had contested the 2014 assembly elections together but their alliance fell apart after a dispute over the Sutlej-Yamuna link canal in 2017.
Other parties in the running are the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), AAP and Swaraj India party. BSP decided to contest alone after breaking ties with the less than year-old Jannayak Janata Party (JJP) on account of disagreements over seat sharing. The JJP, formed by Dushyant Chautala -- the grandson of INLD chief Om Prakash Chautala -- following bitter infighting, is also going to the polls solo.
Meanwhile, the Congress, which had been a key player in the state until the 2014 assembly elections, when the BJP stunned pollsters by bagging 47 seats, is also embroiled in a crisis over its strategy for distributing tickets to candidates for the upcoming polls. In a major setback to the party, former Haryana Congress unit chief Ashok Tanwar recently resigned from its primary membership.
All the above is seen to translate to advantage BJP. Having won 10 Lok Sabha seats in Haryana earlier this year, political observers say that the ruling BJP this time has an edge over its divided main rival. And that gives current Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar a good shot at a second consecutive term.
Who is promising what
The opposition parties have made farmer debts, crop insurance, faulty GST and Motor Vehicle Amendment as poll planks but the BJP's poll manifesto, released on Sunday, has avoided competitive populism. Rather than the economic slowdown or the prospect of massive job loss, the party instead has chosen to focus on transparency in governance, zero tolerance for corruption, giving jobs on merit, and achievements of state and central governments.
Interestingly, it is the Modi government's decision to scrap special status of Jammu and Kashmir as defined under Article 370 that has emerged as the dominating poll issue in Haryana as well as Maharashtra. All the top leaders of the BJP, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, have raised the issue in their rallies.
Both the poll-bound states are, incidentally, among the top contributors to the armed forces.
Haryana tops population-to-army officer ratio in the Indian Army. Maharashtra is also a significant contributor to Indian Army. An election campaign centred around Kashmir draws an emotional appeal in these two states. The BJP aims to benefit from this Kashmir-armed forces relation.
On the other hand, the other parties are broadly touching on similar issues. Congress has promised farmer debt waiver within 24 hours of forming the government, while INLD said it will write off loans upto Rs 10 lakh. Congress has also promised crop damage compensation, which will be Rs 12,000 per acre. Both parties have promised 30 and 33 per cent reservations for women in government jobs. INLD went a step further and promised a grant of Rs 5 lakh to the poor families to solemnise the marriages of their daughters. The party, which has been out of power in Haryana for 15 years now, has also promised to do away with the crop insurance scheme and set up a farmers' assistance fund to compensate growers for crop loss.
The Congress has promised a monthly allowance to the unemployed graduates and post-graduates to the tune of Rs 7,000 to Rs 10,000 per month while INLD has promised Rs 1,500 per month to every unemployed youth.
One common issue touched upon by all the leading parties is pensions. The BJP said it would enhance old-age pensions on the basis of the price index, while Congress promised to increase the pensions to Rs 5,100 per month. INLD similarly has promised a monthly pension of Rs 5,000 to widows and senior citizens.
With PTI inputs