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BJP set to make clean sweep in Haryana, Cong faces rout; Hooda among losers

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: May 23, 2019  | 23:54 IST

(Eds: Recasting intro) /R Chandigarh, May 23 (PTI) The BJP was set to make a clean sweep in Haryana, winning seven out of the ten seats and leading in the remaining three. While it would be saffron party's best ever performance in the state, which was carved out in 1966, the Congress was facing a rout after a gap of 20 years, as per results and latest trends made available by the Election Commission. In 2014, the BJP had won seven out of the eight seats it contested, the INLD had won two and the Congress one. In the 2019 elections, the Modi juggernaut continued propelling the ruling BJP in Haryana to the top spot. Many exit poll projections for the state, which had predicted a stupendous performance by the party, were also proved right. BJP candidates in eight Lok Sabha seats were either winning or leading with margins ranging between 3-6 lakh votes. BJP's local leader from Panipat and state general secretary Sanjay Bhatia surprised many with his massive win from the Karnal seat by a margin of 6,56,142 votes over his nearest rival and sitting Congress MLA Kuldeep Sharma. Union minister Krishan Pal Gurjar was set to register a massive victory over Congress' Avtar Singh Bhadana as he was leading by over 6.38 lakh votes. Another Union minister in the contest Rao Inderjit Singh retained his Gurgaon seat, winning by a margin of 3,86,256 votes over Congress' Ajay Singh Yadav. Former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda lost from Sonipat to BJP's sitting MP Ramesh Chander Kaushik by 1,64,864 votes. His defeat has dealt a further blow to the Congress, which was eyeing electoral gains with Assembly polls barely four months away. State Congress chief Ashok Tanwar also lost from Sirsa while senior leader Kumari Selja was also staring at defeat from Ambala. In the "tsunami" as Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar put it while commenting on BJP's performance in Haryana, parties like the Indian National Lok Dal, the Jannayak Janata Party-Aam Aadmi Party and the BSP-Loktantra Suraksha Party alliance, too, had to bite the dust at the hustings. Congress' three-time MP Deepender Singh Hooda was the only candidate who remained in a neck-and-neck fight from the Rohtak seat right till the end. As counting was still in progress there, turncoat Arvind Sharma, a former Congress MP who had joined the BJP ahead of the elections, was maintaining a slender lead. BJP's previous best was in 2014 when it had won seven seats of the eight it contested while its the then ally Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC) unsuccessfully contested two seats. In 1999, when it was in an alliance with the INLD, the Bharatiya Janata Party had won five seats while the remaining five were won by its ally. That year, the Congress had suffered a rout. Of the 11 women, out of a total of 223 candidates who were in the fray, only BJP's Sunita Duggal (Sirsa) could taste the win. She defeated state Congress chief Ashok Tanwar from the reserved constituency by a margin of 3,09,918 votes. Except Hisar, from where sitting MP Dushyant Chautala of the fledgling JJP finished at second spot behind Union minister Birender Singh's son Brijendra Singh, the Congress was at second place in the remaining nine seats. Opposition INLD's political graph continued to be on downslide as it suffered electoral debacle with the party candidates performing poorly on all the 10 seats. The opposition's sitting MP from Sirsa, Charanjeet Singh Rori, was among the losers as the party candidates were relegated to fifth spot on many seats. The JJP, formed after INLD split, which contested on seven seats and left three for the AAP, comparatively performed better than O P Chautala-led party ending up at the third spot on more than half the seats it contested. However, the AAP, which had lost all the ten seats in 2014, again disappointed and was set to lose all the three seats it contested that included Faridabad, from where its state unit chief Naveen Jaihind was in the fray. The Bahujan Samaj Party, which fought on eight seats and left two for its ally the LSP to contest, was at the third spot on six seats. The BJP in Haryana continued its winning momentum from the previous general elections, something which is likely to come as a boost to party's prospects in the Assembly polls, which are due in October. Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar hailed the BJP-led NDA's performance in the Lok Sabha polls and gave credit to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, party chief Amit Shah and the state government's pro-people policies for the stupendous show. After winning seven of the eight seats it contested in 2014, the BJP went on to form its government on its own for the first time in Haryana when the assembly polls were held later that year. The high-voltage electioneering in Haryana saw the ruling BJP and the Congress fielding a galaxy of stars. The Congress targeted the BJP government at the Centre over "failed" promises and the Rafale aircraft deal, while Modi and other BJP leaders talked about the alleged land scams when the Congress was in power. The party also raised the issue of national security, and brought up the 1984-anti-Sikh riots issue. PTI SUN VSD AQS AAR

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