It's poll season, but alliances remain non-starter in Haryana
Chandigarh: Assembly elections in Haryana are barely 20 days away, but there is no sign of political alliances being forged by leading Opposition parties that could give the ruling Congress some serious competition.
With the Bhupinder Singh Hooda-led Congress government opting for early polls by getting the 90-member Assembly dissolved in August, seven months before the term of the House was to end, the Opposition has been put on the defensive.
The main Opposition party, the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) led by former chief minister Om Prakash Chautala, saw its alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) being severed by the latter.
The two parties, which have had an on-off relationship in the past too, had got together in the state a couple of months before the Lok Sabha polls in May this year. The drubbing that their alliance got in the general election - failing to win even a single seat out of the 10 Lok Sabha seats - prompted the BJP to break its ties.
The BJP then tried to hobnob with the newly floated Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC) led by former chief minister Bhajan Lal and his son Kuldip Bishnoi. Both had been expelled from the Congress last year. However, the BJP and the HJC could not forge an alliance as their differences over seat sharing were never resolved.
The INLD as well as the BJP is now going it alone in the October 13 Assembly polls. The results will be declared October 22.
The INLD has now been given support in Haryana by the ruling Akali Dal of Punjab. However, the Akalis hardly have a base in Haryana. Incidentally, the Akalis run an alliance government with the BJP in Punjab.
The HJC tried to tie up with the BJP only after the formers’ alliance with the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), which was only two months old, snapped. The BSP withdrew from the alliance after differences over seat-sharing.
"All these alliances in Haryana and their break-up show that these political parties are getting together only for opportunism. The only successful alliance in Haryana is that of the people of this state and the Congress party," Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda told a news agency.
In the May Lok Sabha polls, the Congress led in 59 Assembly segments. The INLD and the BJP, which were in an alliance in that election, managed a lead in seven segments each. The BSP managed to lead in eight constituencies while the HJC returned with the highest figure among all Opposition parties with a lead on nine seats.
In the February 2005 Assembly poll, the Congress had returned with 67 seats while the INLD had only nine seats.
Many senior leaders from the INLD, especially former finance minister in Chautala government Sampat Singh, quit the party in recent days to join the Congress.
"The turncoats have left our party (INLD). They will realise their mistake later. The Congress is seeing this (assembly) election from its victory in the Lok Sabha poll. This election will spring up a different result. Just wait and see," former chief minister Om Prakash Chautala said.
While the Congress is upbeat about returning to power comfortably, the Opposition, which is in a state of disarray, is hoping that a bit of anti-incumbency factor against the Hooda government and infighting among Congress ticket seekers will help its cause.