Sharique N Siddiquie
Famous for its Olympic medallist boxers, Haryana is one of the most prosperous states of the country. Thanks on one count to its geographical proximity with Delhi, several of its districts like Gurgaon, Sonepat have witnessed massive development.
With Congress in power and a directionless opposition, fight for the state assembly is expected to be one sided. Here is a low down on various issues that are bound to make an impact on the decision of voters and influence voting trends.
Lack of Opposition
The opposition parties in Haryana are a clueless and diffident lot this time which gives Congress a clear advantage. With BJP, INLD and the Bhajan Lal-led HJC (Haryana Janhit Congress) in fray, it has become a four cornered fight in the state.
With 10 percent Dalit votes to corner, BSP is also a factor to reckon with and will eat into the base of opposition parties. Lack of coordination among the opposition parties and the weakening of OP Chautala’s INLD puts the ruling Congress in an advantageous position.
The four cornered- and in some seats five cornered- fight in these elections also gives the Grand Old Party of India the much needed edge overall.
Development is the biggest issue in the state that will be milked by the ruling party, rather than by the opposition. The last five years of Congress rule have seen the state make progress in leaps and bounds. Congress, under the leadership of Bhupinder Singh Hooda, has initiated many programmes for farmers.
Being an agro-based economy, Haryana has greatly benefited by various programmes of the UPA government at the Centre. Also, NREGA has been successfully implemented in the state.
All this will impact the minds of the voters and will work in favour of the Congress. Add to this, the pro-development image of CM Hooda, and that will keep the party a step ahead of its opponents.
As mentioned earlier, Haryana is an agricultural economy. The water from Bhakra canal is essential for the development of the economy.
The age old dispute for Bhakra canal water with Punjab is an old issue, which still has an impact in Haryana politics.
The inability of the state government to reach an amicable solution with Punjab can act against the ruling party. With INLD and other opposition parties raking up this issue, Congress is bound to face a tough time answering some questions.
Devi Lal’s legacy
For INLD chief Om Prakash Chautala, this election appears to be his last fight and therefore he is putting in all that he has to make his last electoral outing successful.
The emotional connect of the people of Haryana with Chautala has the potential of impacting the outcome of the election. The legacy of Devi Lal is an issue in itself. Also, the anti-incumbency against the ruling Congress will help INLD and give Chautala a much needed edge.
With a weak opposition and the clean, pro-development image of Hooda, the election seems to be a cake-walk for Congress. But Indian politics and electorate are so unpredictable that guessing could prove to be a tricky affair.
Besides, there are many local factors that will decide the result and the fight is surely going to be an interesting one.