HJC-BJP alliance breaks: Who will benefit in Haryana Assembly polls?

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Has HJC committed a big mistake by dumping alliance with BJP?
Putting an end to the prolonged tussle, Kuldeep Bishnoi-led Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC-BL) on Thursday decided to snap its three-year-old alliance with the BJP. Bishnoi has also joined hands with Vinod Sharma's Jan Chetna Party (JCP) and accused the BJP of betraying him.

"We tried our level best to keep the alliance working... made sincere efforts...They (BJP) are not ready to stick to agreed alliance principles. So we have taken a decision," a top HJC leader said in Chandigarh.

The ties between the partners were under strain due to differences on seat-sharing for the Assembly polls, with Bishnoi seeking 45 of the 90 seats and demanding that he be declared the Chief Ministerial candidate of the alliance, both of which the BJP is opposing.

Reason for BJP's turning down HJC's demand?

The BJP had won seven out of 10 Lok Sabha seats in the state, where it doesn't even enjoyed such a support, while HJC didn't win any of the two seats it had contested on. Even party's chief, Kuldeep Bishnoi, failed to retain Hissar Lok Sabha seat he represented in the outgoing Lok Sabha polls. This gave the BJP a chance to demand for more seat share in Haryana.

Has HJC committed a big mistake by dumping alliance with BJP?

Another reason for party's elevated confidence could be also with the fact that the in a pre-poll survey conducted by ABP-Nielsen the party was predicted getting 43 assembly seats in the state even if it severed its ties with the HJC. Hence, the party didn't saw getting much support from its ally. Also, there was a constant demand from the party cadre in the state to contest alone in Haryana state polls.

Has the BJP committed a big mistake?

HJC in association with JCP may not be able to come to power in Haryana, but experts however feel that the party's breakup is not into BJP's interest and it will mar the latter's chances of coming to power for the first time in Haryana.

By parting ways with HJC the BJP has done a huge loss to its prospects in Haryana, experts feel. Since the BJP and HJC both share the same vote bank in the state a split would also result in division of voters. In such a contest, it will be their rivals, Congress or INLD, who'll be benefitted the most.

Kuldeep Bishnoi might have lost his traditional seat in the LS poll but his party still enjoys popularity in the state and that popularity will definitely come handy to his party and would translate into votes in the assembly polls. The HJC has its stronghold in Hissar, Sirsa and Karnal region hence, it still has optimum chances of winning from these districts. Also, Bishnoi's accusation that the saffron party had betrayed his trust, barely days ahead of declaration of model code of conduct, would also send wrong signals about the BJP amongst voters. Hence, playing a victim card might help Bishnoi.

BJP losing non-Congress votes in Haryana?

Biggest jolt to the BJP could be that the party is failing to maintain its grip over non-Congress and non-Jat votes in the state. There are genuine reasons for the same.

By inducting several Congress leaders in its fold the party has confused the common man in Haryana because they had voted for the BJP due to their displeasure with the incumbent Bhupinder Singh Hooda government in the state. And when same corrupt and non-performing Congress leaders are standing at BJP's side how will they vote for them?

BJP is banking heavily on Jat votes in the state to come in its favour and Birender Singh's induction into party would ensure fair amount of votes from Jat votes but it couldn't touch the magical figure of 45+ seats solely depending on Jats. Hence, non-Jat votes are equally important for a party's victory.

The BJP still doesn't have any popular face in the state that could be projected as a Chief Ministerial candidate. For this the party would once again have to either choose a non-popular BJP leader or a popular Congress deserter. But, Kuldeep Bishnoi would have been clean and popular leader to be projected as alliance's CM candidate.

With Bishnoi gone, it would be better for the party to project an able leader from within the BJP, who has worked for the party in the long term, as the party's face in the state instead of depending on deserters from Congress or INLD.

Development must be the agenda for BJP

Also, gone are the days when caste dynamics play so much of a crucial role in a party's win. People in Haryana voted again for the Congress in 2009 polls for whatever development work was done by incumbent Hooda government. But, the government's development graph went down and corruption became synonymous to the Congress in its next term. Therefore there is strong anti-incumbency in Haryana and the BJP should make the most of it.

If the BJP comes out with its clear poll agenda and starts campaigning from grass-root level to keep its popularity intact amongst voters, then the party certainly can create its magic in the state.

But, it will be interesting to see whether HJC splitting alliance would turn a boon or a bane for the BJP.

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