Elections were held in 46 municipalities across the state of Haryana, with results due to be announced on June 22. Congress did not field any candidates, although some vied with the party’s support. While the ruling BJP-JJP coalition is optimistic about the opportunities, the AAP hopes to capitalize on the Congress’ move in a country that remains one of its main goals, sandwiched between the two states it rules – Delhi and Punjab.
The Congress has indicated the lack of regulatory cadre at the provincial and cabinet levels to make its decision. Despite being the largest party in the state after the BJP, the Congress suffers badly from endless infighting, as a result of which it has not been able to elect grassroots organizational units for more than seven to eight years. The Haryana Affairs Officer of the party, Vivek Bansal, said the process is going on, as stipulated in the recently held Chintan Shivir.
While the party’s Legislative Congress leader and former Prime Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda justified the decision, saying that the party did not contest the civilian elections for its symbol and that it was unwise to do so now given the lack of an organized cadre, his fellow party leaders did. questioned this step. This is particularly the case because Congress cannot relinquish any political space in a country that still has a fighting chance.
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Among those who registered their opposition are Tusham MLA Kiran Chaudhry and former minister Captain Ajay Singh Yadav, with the exception of SLA rebel Kuldeep Bishnoi. While the Congress expelled Bishnoi after the recent Rajya Sabha elections as he defied the party’s line, Chaudhry’s role in the elections where the party suffered a humiliating result is also under the fog.
Meanwhile, the AAP is enjoying the confusion of Congress. The party that collapsed in both the 2019 assembly elections and the Lok Sabha elections in Haryana, in its first serious foray into the state, is fantasizing about its chances after its massive victory in Punjab and the ‘exit’ of Congress.
In the 2019 assembly polls, where the AAP led by Arvind Kejriwal competed for 46 out of 90 constituencies, it won nothing, with most of its candidates failing to save their security deposits and many receiving less than 1,000 votes. Its share of the vote was 0.48%, less than 0.53% for NOTA. She did no better in the Lok Sabha polls, which she contested in alliance with Dushyant Chautala’s JJP.
AAP sources told The Indian Express that by competing for its own token in Haryana in a big way, the party hopes to maintain its cadre. An unexpected reward was the protests against Agnipath’s scheme for the centre, with Haryana one of the states where young people took to the streets. The AAP also hopes that the lingering anger over farmers’ and anti-occupation protests against the BJP government will help it.
A senior AAP leader said that whatever the party’s outcome in the polls, it would be indicative of the “sliding graph” of the BJP-JJP alliance and the AAP at least retaining the space that Congress used as the main opposition.
The BJP, which shared 14:4 seats in municipal councils and left the decision to district-level cadres in 28 municipal committees, promised a slew of incentives and infrastructure improvement measures in attempts to attract voters.
A senior BJP leader admitted that while elections for the assembly were still two years away, civilian opinion polls were important as they would reflect the party’s strengths and weaknesses.