New Delhi: Wrestlers Yogeshwar Dutt and Babita Phogat are unlikely to turn the BJP’s fortunes in the tough seats of Baroda and Dadri in Haryana, with the two sporting icons projected to lose in the Haryana assembly elections according to the News18-IPSOS exit poll.
Although the BJP looks set to sweep Haryana and accomplish its ‘Mission 75’, the debut of the two wrestlers in the political dangal is predicted to be on the losing side.
Dutt, a 2012 Olympics bronze medallist, is up against Congress’ sitting MLA Sri Kishen, who had won the Baroda seat in 2014 despite a stellar performance by the BJP.
The challenge for him can be judged from the fact that the BJP has never won the Baroda seat, which has been represented either by the Congress or the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) in the past. In the 2014 assembly elections, the BJP candidate finished third and even lost his security deposit.
Phogat, on the other hand, has banked heavily on the ‘Modi factor’ in the Jat-dominated constituency of Dadri. She faced Nripendera Sangwan of the Congress and Somveer Sangwan, a former BJP candidate who contested as an independent.
While the two wrestlers battle tough odds, Congress senior leader Randeep Surjewala is also in a close contest, the News18-IPSOS poll has predicted.
A defeat for the sitting MLA from Kaithal assembly seat could be a major embarrassment for him as he had also suffered a humiliating loss in the Jind assembly bypolls held earlier this year.
Surjewala had even gone easy on his national responsibilities to save his seat as his survival in electoral politics could depend on the results.
The News18-IPSOS polls have predicted that the BJP would win 75 seats in Haryana in what would be an even bigger mandate for the Manohar Lal Khattar government after a huge BJP win in 2014. The Congress tally in the state is expected to reduce to 10, while the INLD is set to be wiped out completely.