With the Congress in Haryana fielding “heavyweight” candidates in many parliamentary constituencies, political analysts feel that the party has conveyed a message that the electoral battle for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party would not be a cakewalk.
The BJP, after its recent win in the Jind Assembly bypoll and in the municipal polls in five cities, is riding high on confidence. The Congress, on the other hand, has been struggling to set its house in order.
The Congress State unit is, however, divided with infighting between former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and State president Ashok Tanwar coming out in the public domain on several occasions.
But with the Congress deciding to field its ”heavyweights”, political experts feel the party is in a ”comfortable” position in the State.
“The general perception is that the Congress lost the recent Jind bypoll due to infighting. But, with the decision to field senior leaders such as Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Kulddep Sharma, Ashok Tanwar, Kumari Selja among others, the party has made an attempt to deviate and fend off this perception, which is likely to be an advantage for the party,” Kushal Pal, an associate professor and head of the Department of Political Science, Dyal Singh College, Karnal, told The Hindu.
“The BJP so far has been is in a comfortable position but with the Congress fielding senior leaders, it is going to be a tough ‘fight’ this time,” Dr. Pal said.
In the 2014 Lok Sabha poll, the BJP won seven seats followed by the INLD with two and the Congress retaining the sole seat of Rohtak, won by Deepender Singh Hooda, son of the former Chief Minister.
The Congress, which has announced all its candidates for the 10 Lok Sabha seats in Haryana, has decided to field Hooda senior from Sonipat. Mr. Hooda is a prominent ‘Jat’ face in Haryana politics and Sonipat constituency has substantial number of Jat voters.
For the Rohtak seat, a traditional stronghold of the Hooda family, sitting MP Deepender Hooda is the Congress candidate.
Bhavya Bishnoi, son of Kuldeep Bishnoi, the sitting MLA from Adampur, is party candidate from Hisar, while former Haryana Assembly Speaker Kuldeep Sharma will contest from Karnal. Former Union Minister Kumari Selja will contest from Ambala seat and Mr. Tanwar from Sirsa.