The results are exceptional. Records are broken. And the margins, massive.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) headquarters in Delhi yesterday (25 May 2019) showcased faces of victory and joy all over. The party flag was fluttering in all its charm while the office was thronged by people from across the country. Why wouldn’t they? Months of campaigning had generated hope and the overwhelming results proved to be the happy culmination of the same.
The Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Marg, which houses the head office of the world’s largest democratic party, BJP, was barricaded on both sides to make way for the marching foot soldiers who toiled hard to make ‘Phir Ek Baar Modi Sarkar’ a reality.
To be fair, the sentiment was similar in all BJP party offices across India. Add to it the emotions of people who were not in the offices. It was a win for Narendra Modi, by everyone. A people-led movement in the truest sense.
As the day descended, many from the party moved to the plush, high-end Khan Market to unwind, pictures of which floated all over social media.
But the massive majority that the party won requires careful analysis as well, for it makes a tremendous case study. In this case, let us look at Haryana, where the party won all 10 Lok Sabha seats, a first-ever in the state by the party.
In Sonepat, sitting Member of Parliament (MP) Ramesh Kaushik defeated the former Chief Minister and political powerhouse Bhupinder Singh Hooda by a margin of 1,64, 864 votes. Minister and MP from Faridabad, Krishan Pal Gujjar, won by a landslide margin of 6,38,239 votes. However, what was witnessed in Karnal Lok Sabha constituency pales out the hitherto discussed figures. Sanjay Bhatia fought his first Lok Sabha election from Karnal and won by the largest margin of 6,50,142 votes. Bhatia got a total of 9,11,594 votes, which is a 70 per cent vote share. A mandate that will perhaps go unchallenged for many years to come.
Former IAS officer, Brijender Singh from BJP, defeated the sitting MP Dushyant Chautala by a margin greater than three lakh votes. BJP candidate Nayab Singh from Kurukshetra defeated Congress candidate Nirmal Singh by a margin of 3.8 lakh votes. The dent on political families of Haryana is massive as Shruti Chaudhary from the family of former Chief Minister Bansi Lal lost to BJP’s Dharambir Singh in Bhiwani-Mahendragarh Lok Sabha constituency by a margin of over 4.4 lakh votes.
Sunita Duggal humbled Congress state president Ashok Tanwar by 3 lakh votes.
However, the most interesting tale as counting progressed in Haryana was from Rohtak. A Hooda family bastion, Rohtak has been the stronghold of the family for decades now. Deepender Singh Hooda, the Congress candidate who lost to Arvind Sharma by a margin of 7,503 votes, comes from a family of heft political lineage. His grandfather, Ranbir Singh Hooda, was active in state politics and his father was the Chief Minister of Haryana from 2004 to 2014. The BJP win hence, roots out the Hooda family’s political foundation.
Gurgaon gave a clear win to sitting MP Rao Inderjit Singh and in Ambala, it was Rattan Lal Kattaria who defeated Congress leader Selja Kumari.
Modi wave or TsuNamo?
I had the good fortune of travelling across the state and understanding the sentiments of the people from all spectra. It cannot be denied that in the last two years, the Modi factor has only picked up in Haryana. In the aftermath of Demonetisation and Goods and Service Tax (GST), industrialists of Panipat, Karnal, and Rohtak did complain, but, with Ayushman Bharat and Jan Dhan reaching the hinterlands, the people’s faith in Modi’s leadership was firmly restored.
One also needs to understand that Haryana’s history is replete with stories of bravery and valour from its soldiers and army officers which the state is tremendously proud of. Narendra Modi’s stern stance against terror attacks from Pakistan brought out the leonine spirit among Hariyanvis. The Balakot airstrikes that followed the dastardly Pulwama attack touched the right chords and created a powerful nationalist fervour across the state.
NaMo and MaNo
However, it would be unfair to credit the BJP’s success to Modi alone.
In the last two years, the graph of achievements by Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar is incredible. In December 2018, the state went through civic polls which the BJP swept. This was conclusively the first response to the government’s efforts to ensure good governance in the state.
This was followed by the Jind by-election, a high-intensity one which BJP won by defeating Congress national media spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala and Jannayak Janata Party leader Digvijay Chautala.
Out of many other things, the Online Teacher Transfer policy and transparent merit-based selections have had the most impact on the ground. Students from families with meagre means were selected for government jobs and services by fair and transparent practices. In a state where corruption and nepotism had become a norm, this was a breath of fresh air.
It is noteworthy to mention that in the last four-and-a-half years, the Haryana government has provided government jobs to more than 65,000 young girls and boys. The numbers are huge, but the message that working hard and performing in exams will be rewarded has inspired many in the state. Full library seats in Narnaul is a testament to this fact.
Be it Barwasani, Jundla, Beri or Kail village, citizens of the state have accepted that the government’s works have reached all strata of society. The public faith restored in the system should be CM Manohar Lal’s lifelong achievement. Motivating a state and giving it the right direction and a goal to aspire for is no easy task.
Apart from this, the CM held 55 public meetings, nine roadshows and 27 corner meetings, garnering support for his party’s candidates. In addition to other Baithaks, he held around a hundred programmes focussed on the Parliamentary elections in total. Videos of his convoy stopping by and engaging in casual conversations with tea vendors or sugarcane juice sellers went viral online, creating a massive fervour around his approachability as a CM.
Another thing that stands out is the position of the caste narrative. Quite often, it is believed that elections are fought on caste dynamics. However, BJP’s result has busted this theory. BJP is not a non-Jat party as is believed. It turned out to be a “national party” whose Chief Minister has believed in performance from Day One.
This overall satisfaction with a performance-based government policy, irrespective of caste, creed and locational considerations, has been the key to BJP’s landslide victory in the state. And given the success of this development model, it is likely to be taken forward in the days to come.
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