Saturday, October 11, 2014

High-Stakes Gamble

Lok Sabha elections in Haryana are all set to be held next week in a high-stakes gamble for new BJP President Amit Shah, whose amazing organizational skills that won the BJP an overwhelming majority of seats in UP, will be put to test in a state where the BJP has been but a junior player. Of course, that was till the Lok Sabha elections in May, where the party won 7 of 8 seats on the back of the Modi wave that gripped the nation and made Narendra Modi the Prime Minister of India.

The problem is, the BJP still has no real base in the state, which is considered a Congress stronghold. Chief Minister Bhoopinder Singh Hooda seems set to form his third government, although the same hubris was seen in 2009 when he called for early elections and narrowly missed a majority. If he fails this time, it will be a huge blow for the Congress, which is still recovering from the massive defeat in May. However, if there's one thing that works for it, it's that it's not very clear who the Opposition is: the BJP or the INLD. And there lies a tale about the changing story of this agro-industrial state.

For its part, the INLD seems to be content with the fact that it is not going to win a majority. Typical of Haryanvi politics, the conviction of the Chautalas has not done anything to their popularity at all, except in the small urban areas such as Rohtak and Gurgaon. If anything, they've managed to spin it against the now defunct UPA-2 government to hurt the Congress even more. However, its strategy is not to win to form a government, but rather to win enough seats to decide who will - and demand their pound of flesh (read, money) in return.

Clearly, the stakes are high in this state. Had AAP contested here, it would've been another force to reckon with. But that's another tale altogether. 

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