BJP breaks from INLD, to contest all Haryana assembly seats
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Last Updated: Monday, August 24, 2009, 21:54
Chandigarh: After a wipe out of the alliance in the Lok Sabha elections, BJP on Monday severed its ties with INLD and said it was going it alone in the assembly polls, a development that could help Congress in its gamble of going in for early polls.

Accusing INLD of adopting a "rigid and tough" stance on seat sharing, BJP General Secretary Vijay Goel told a press conference here that his party will contest all the 90 seats.

The break in the alliance came in less than a year of their coming together.

"INLD did not see the ground realities. They were adamant on seat sharing as per their whims. They adopted a stubborn attitude and did not agree to the seat sharing as per ground realities," Goel, who is also incharge of Haryana, said.

Though he did not specify the number of seats the party wanted in its share from INLD, he hinted at demanding 45 seats saying the BJP and INLD had got the top spot in seven assembly segments each during the Lok Sabha poll.

Asked about snapping of the alliance in less than a year, Goel said, "We had said earlier itself that if there are hurdles in the alliance (during the assembly elections) we are capable to contest alone."

The 90-member Haryana assembly was dissolved on Friday night, seven months ahead of its term after Congress sensed it could cash in on its show in the Lok Sabha polls where it won nine of the ten seats.

This is the second time in the last five years that the two parties have split. The alliance which ruled the state for five years from 1999 had collapsed in 2004 following serious differences among their leaders.

In the dissolved assembly, Congress had 63 members, INLD eight, and one each from BJP, BSP and NCP. While there were 10 independents, six seats were vacant.

On the opposition expressed earlier by the state unit to the BJP alliance with INLD before Lok Sabha polls, Goel said the party went for the alliance then as there were chances of NDA providing an alternative to the Congress at the Centre.

"But in the Lok Sabha elections the alliance, which fought the 10 seats among themselves, failed to win even one seat. We had a bitter experience on seat sharing, but despite that we contested as allies. We kept our promise," he said, adding if the alliance had worked it would have been better.

Asked if INLD was out of the NDA, he parried a direct reply saying "this question should be asked to the national leadership."

However, downplaying the development, INLD Secretary General and MP Ajay Chautala said, "there has been no problem from our side. The seat sharing is not an issue."

He said BJP has taken a unilateral decision and not communicated them anything.

Goel said Congress will be BJP's main rival in the polls and added that it has to be routed from the state. Price rise, especially steep hike in the prices of various commodities, would be the main issues during campaign, he said.

He said the state government has failed to tackle the shortage of power and water. Law and order has worsened and corruption is at its peak, he said.

Goel also charged the state government with spending crores of rupees on advertisements in the newspapers and making a mockery of the model code of conduct.

INLD state president Ashok Arora said, "It is their (BJP) wish. They have a problem, but things could have been sorted out mutually. We never had any problem with them. It is they who have raised issues. We still consider them our ally."

Recently appointed State BJP chief Krishan Pal Gujjar, who was once a known critic of INLD chief Om Prakash Chautala, said "we cannot always play second fiddle".

The development is being viewed as a serious setback to INLD, which has been jolted by a series of desertions, especially by its senior leaders including former minister Sampat Singh, in recent weeks.

The breaking of the alliance a few weeks before the assembly elections can benefit the Congress which already is in an upbeat mood due to the success it got in the recent Lok Sabha election in the state.

On if the development will help Congress, its state unit Working President Kuldeep Sharma said "the INLD-BJP have lost their vote bank. They were never a threat put together and we were not perturbed when they had rejoined hands earlier."

He said "people of Haryana have never accepted the (INLD-BJP) alliance".

The graph of the two parties in state politics has been on the decline in the past few years.

In the 2004 Lok Sabha polls, INLD was routed while BJP could manage to win just one seat (Sonepat).

In 2005 Assembly polls, Congress bounced back to power with an overwhelming majority and continued with its winning streak in the 2009 parliamentary polls.

A meeting of Political Affairs Committee (PAC) of Indian National Lok Dal will be held here on August 27 to discuss among other issues the breaking of alliance by the BJP ahead of the assembly elections in Haryana.

President of the INLD Haryana unit Ashok Arora said here today that the party was capable of contesting the elections on its own

The PAC meeting will be presided over by party chief Om Parkash Chautala, who will review current political situation and party's preparedness for the assembly polls.

He said that the party in a letter to Chief Election Commissioner and the Chief Electoral Officer of Haryana has demanded a thorough probe into what the INLD described as bogus enrollment of voters in the state by Congress.

Around 10.91 lakh new voters have been enrolled without following the set procedure, including conducting an enquiry regarding the applicant, the INLD alleged.

BJP after failing to get the desired number of seats from its ally the INLD for the forthcoming assembly elections and the failure of the alliance to win a single seat in the recent Lok Sabha poll, snapped its ties with INLD and decided to contest on its own all the 90 seats.

Bureau Report

First Published: Monday, August 24, 2009, 21:54

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