ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Haryana: Pre-Election Manoeuvres

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By recommending the dissolution of the assembly 17 months before the completion of its five-year term and opting for mid-term polls, Haryana chief minister Om Prakash Chautala has acted to consolidate his party’s hold over the state. The clean sweep by the BJP-Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) alliance of all the 10 Lok Sabha seats in the state last year provided the requisite encouragement to Chautala to set his eyes on this more important target.

The present INLD dispensation in Haryana is a mockery of the mandate delivered in the 1996 assembly election which had returned the BJP-Haryana Vikas Party (HVP) alliance to office. But after the resounding defeat of the BJP-HVP alliance in the 1998 Lok Sabha election, the BJP began to distance itself from its alliance partner, regarding it as having become a political liability. The opportunism of the BJP in jettisoning the HVP was surpassed by the opportunism of the Congress which attempted to stage a comeback in the state by propping up a minority government of the HVP – an arrangement which, given the cross-purposes at which the Congress and the HVP were working, was doomed to fail. The popular resentment against the Congress and the HVP following this debacle ensured that the INLD-BJP alliance forged on the eve of the Lok Sabha election would make handsome gains.

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