New Delhi: The News18-IPSOS exit poll has suggested that the BJP will repeat its strong showing from 2014 in Haryana in the Lok Sabha elections, handing the saffron party six to eight seats out of a total 10 in the state.
The exit poll gave the Congress two to four seats, pointing to an improved performance in the state. Previously, the Congress had won only one seat.
The numbers predicted a heavy loss for regional parties Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) and the newly-formed Jannayak Janata Party (JJP), which is fighting its debut Lok Sabha elections in alliance with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
Other exit polls also hinted at a strong show for the BJP in the state. Today's Chanakya predicted a clean sweep for the BJP, giving it all 10 seats. The Times Now exit poll gave eight seats to BJP and two to the Congress.
The India Today-Axis exit poll also echoed a similar performance from the BJP, predicting eight to 10 seats for the party.
In Haryana, the legacies of four prominent families were on the line: the Devi Lal clan of the Chautalas, Bhajan Lal’s Bishnoi family, Bansi Lal’s granddaughter, and the Hooda clan. These families have been at the forefront of Haryana politics and were represented by their members.
Dushyant Chautala and Digvijay Chautala, the great-grandsons of Devi Lal, contested from Hisar and Sonipat, respectively, as JJP candidates. Their cousin Arjun Chautala fought from Kurukshetra on an INLD ticket. The Congress party’s Bhavya Bishnoi, grandson of former chief minister Bhajan Lal, fought from Hisar; and Bansi Lal’s granddaughter, Shruti Choudhry, entered the fray from Bhawani-Mahendragarh on a Congress ticket.
In Hisar, it was a triangular contest between Dushyant Chautala, Bishnoi and the BJP’s Brijendra Singh, son of Union minister Birender Singh. In Sonipat, Digvijay Chautala, who was the JJP candidate in Jind bypoll in February, was up against Congress leader and former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda. And Hooda’s son, Deepender, the incumbent MP from Rohtak, is hoping for a fourth term from the seat and is up against former BJP MP Arvind Kumar Sharma.
All 10 seats in Haryana -- Ambala, Sirsa, Sonipat, Kurukshetra, Rohtak, Bhiwani-Mahendragarh, Hisar, Gurgaon, Karnal and Faridabad -- went to polls in the sixth phase of elections on May 12. The voter turnout in the state was recorded at 69.5%.
In 2014, the BJP won seven seats in Haryana, the INLD two, while the Congress won only one.
The crucial factor in this election was the sizable and influential Jat votes. In the past, the INLD and the Congress have enjoyed support from the community. But with JJP in the picture, the equations could get disturbed.
First, the emergence of the JJP represents a huge loss for the INLD. It was evident in the Jind bypoll results earlier this year where JJP candidate Digvijay Chautala finished behind the winning BJP. The Congress party’s Randeep Surjewala finished third, while the INLD was reduced to fourth. Digvijay Chautala attracted a sizable section of Jat and young voters and cut into the vote share of Congress and INLD.
JJP had also formed an alliance with the AAP and the two parties are contesting Lok Sabha polls together as well.
Haryana will also hold Assembly elections later this year, so the Lok Sabha results could signal which party will form the government in the state as well. In the previous Assembly polls, the BJP’s strategy of consolidating non-Jat votes by fielding Punjabi or non-Jat candidates against Jat candidates had worked.