BJP gains as Congress routed in Haryana (Roundup)

Chandigarh, May 16: In a year in which it faces assembly polls in less than five months, getting drubbed in the Lok Sabha polls would have been the last thing that the ruling Congress would have wanted to happen in Haryana.

The Congress returned with just one out of 10 Lok Sabha seats in the results declared Friday, and seems to be looking at an uphill task in the forthcoming assembly polls.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won from seven Lok Sabha constituencies in the state, and it was clear that the party had established its base in Haryana.

The BJP had contested eight seats this time, and had an alliance with the Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC) led by former chief minister Bhajan Lal's son Kuldeep Bishnoi.

Even though Bishnoi lost from Hisar, there is no immediate threat to the alliance.

For Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, his son Deepender Hooda's win in Rohtak - the only victory that the Congress tasted - would hardly have been any consolation.

The Congress had won nine seats in 2009 and all 10 in the 2004 polls.

What was humiliating for the Congress was that recently appointed state Congress president Ashok Tanwar too lost from Sirsa. Tanwar is a close confidante of party vice president Rahul Gandhi.

Industrialist and Congress candidate Naveen Jindal not only lost from Kurukshetra, but finished a poor third this time.

He was elected from the same seat twice earlier in 2004 and 2009.

The Indian National Lok Dal, Haryana's principal opposition party which is working for a comeback in the state after being out of power for over nine years, did not show much signs of being on the victory podium in the Lok Sabha polls.

The INLD won only two seats - Sirsa and Hisar - and finished runners-up on three other seats.

Hooda, who till recently used to be one of the most powerful Congress chief ministers, will face the flak after the latest results.

In the 2009 assembly elections, the Congress had not got a clear majority. It bagged only 40 seats in the 90-member assembly. However, it was able to form the government after roping in independents and engineering some defections.

The Congress now faces an uphill task in reviewing its disastrous performance in the Lok Sabha polls and preparing itself for the assembly election.


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