The Bharatiya Janata Party enjoyed a historic win in the election today in Haryana, a state in northern India. It marks the first time that they have won in Haryana. They have been in good spirits for some time now, and were confidently looking for candidates for chief minister of Haryana, working under the assumption that they would win a clear majority in the election today. With such strong expectations to win that clear majority in today’s elections, they had more than six possible candidates who they are contemplating for the position.
The Bharatiya Janata Party is enjoying this historic win that sees them come to power in Haryana for the first time. Prior to this election, it had always played a small role in Haryana. As an illustration of this point, it had managed to win only four seats in the last elections in 2009. But all of that has changed now, largely as the result of the tremendous charisma of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Another factor that might have played into this big win for the Bharatiya Janata Party were memories of the chaos and lawlessness of the Om Prakash Chautala-led government, which ruled in Haryana from 1999 until 2004. There were some atrocities during their tenure that reached previously unparalleled levels. This was particularly true with an issue that came to play an important part in this election: the rape of Dalit women. Since then, it has been a decade of rule under Bhupinder Singh Hooda. However, Hooda’s government failed to really alleviate the issue of the rape of Dalit women that had become such a problem under Chautala. Both Modi and Shah tried to emphasize how committed they were to work to address the problem of the safety of Dalit women in all of their public rallies.
The opposition party, the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), had also sounded confident, even though polls leading up to the election had suggested that they were on the brink of being on the wrong side of a rout to the Bharatiya Janata Party. Yet, despite this pretense of confidence, they were handed a resounding defeat in today’s election. They had been counting largely on sympathy points, and although they failed to win, they did have enough votes to get them to place higher than the ruling Congress government, which is led by Hooda. Hooda’s party fell from grace after being completely discredited. As a result, they will now have to cope with the dubious distinction of having gone from being the incumbent party to a distant third place this time around.
The Bharatiya Janata Party can now enjoy their historic win, their first ever in Haryana. This success did not come easily, however. They had to redefine themselves in order to finally taste success on this level in Haryana. Up until recently, they were seen as a Brahmin dominated urban party, which did not earn them popularity points in Haryana. The Jats had traditionally been the dominant caste in Haryana, but the party managed the feat of reinventing themselves wonderfully and uniting enough other communities in Haryana to counter the Jats, who traditionally have been the dominant caste. They have now been rewarded for their efforts. Projections had shown that the Bharatiya Janata party would win with an outright majority and receive a clear mandate. Now that they have managed to achieve the feat, this will allow them to skip worrying about having to form a political alliance to get a majority.
By Charles Bordeau
Photo by sandeepachetan.com travel – Flickr