People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 22

May 30, 2004

        Haryana Election Results: Meaning Of The Verdict


Inderjit Singh


Despotic rulers are known to have at least one thing in common – their utter disdain for the people. The BJP leaders and Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) chief Om Prakash Chautala are no exceptions to this. The people’s conduct, which caused comprehensive defeat of both these parties’ candidates in the recent elections, was, according to the chief minister, “whimsical”. Not only this, he further warns that they will pay the price for such conduct. He is reacting almost like a king in a Brecht’s play who threatens to replace the people themselves if they don’t learn to behave.


Chautala’s anguish is very much understandable as his party not only drew blank in all the 10 Lok Sabha seats but has also made some inglorious distinctions at the electoral hustings. Even the BJP does not lag behind in this respect. Both these parties had together won all the ten Lok Sabha seats in 1999 with a whopping 58 per cent votes thanks to Kargil hype. They had shared five seats each. This time the people elected Congress nominees in nine out of ten seats. Only the Sonepat seat was retained by the BJP sitting MP Kishan Singh Sangwan. In fact, the BJP should be grateful to Chautala because it was his typical style of making certain individuals as special targets for teaching a lesson which helped Sangwan win this seat. The Congress too deserves to be blamed because it put up one of the most unpopular candidate here.


The electoral verdict given by the electorate in Haryana


can be as simple or complex as in any other state depending upon how and by whom it is read. But before at is analysed even for already certain relevant meaning one can have a glance at some general points.


Polling remained at over 65% fair by better despite farmers of agricultural workers still busy in collecting their harvest and students being busy in their examinations. Party --men the Congress got 42%, INLD 22%, BJP 17%, Haryana Vikas Party (HVP) of Bancilal 6.2% and BSP 5% out of total 90 assembly segments the ruling INLD was able to get an increase in merely 9 the BJP in only 5, HVP in 4 which in remaining 72 assembly segments it is the Congress to establish clear lead over the rest. This is being seen as an indication in the run up to the next assembly elections scheduled to February 2005.


There are some interesting observations however, in the assembly segment level projections. All the 5 assembly segments leads of the BJP fall under the Sonipat Lok Sabha seat which they have been able to retain only by defeat. BJP has lost in all the 6 segments they happen to represent in the present house. Moreover, they have never won any single seat out of these five in which the BJP has now taken a lead.


Second, four of the total nine assembly segments in which INLD of Chautala has led are part of the mew at region falling under Faridabad parliament constituency where the INLD candidate was himself a Meo.


Third, the factional feud written Congress was at its worst. Almost all Congress MLAs and other senior functionaries were openly working according to their factional loyalties, a fact endorsed ion the performance of the Congress candidates at the level of assembly segments.


Fourth, Bansi Lal’s HVP took the lead in four segments, all part of Bhiwani constituency where Bansi Lal’s son Surendra Singh was defeated at the hands of Bhajan Lal’s son Kuldeep which Chautala’s son Ajay lost this seat of trailed third in the race. This contest was seen as a battle royal by the media.


BSP with its 5% vote share could not come we direct contest anywhere was able to garner more than four lakh votes ranging from 17000 to 71000 spread over the 10 Lok Sabha seats despite fierce accentuation of the organisational mess witnessed through repeated desertions of top leaders of BSP’s state unit to other parties like INLD or Congress.


Another notable element in this election was entry of a new political outfit name of Ekta Shakti Party (ESP) launched with big fanfare a year ago by Virendra Verma who is sone of a former minister, Shiv Ram Verma of the then Jan Sangh. Curiously enough he consolidated initially a particular farming caste known as Road by tracing its origin from the Marathas and is seeking to provide a new identity to this caste by way of arousing Maratha pride. He simultaneously added a bizarre dimension to the political scenario by alleging discriminatory treatment to Northen region of the state meted out by all the three Lal’s incidentally the three Lals L.e. Devi Lal, Bhajan Lal & Bansi Lal who have been dominating the helm since the creation of Haryana had come from western part of the state known as Bagri belt. This phenomenon needs separate study.


The ESP nominated three candidates on northern region constituencies of Ambala, Karnal & Kurukshetra and they secured 13022, 82430 and 31202 votes respectively.


Before one can draw more relevant and meaningful inferences from the electoral verdict a fact should be noted the single most factor predominating the situation was widespread deep-rooted anger against Chautala regime, which overshadowed all other factors. Resentment had been accumulated in all sections of the people due to the blind & ruthless way the policies of privatisation & liberalisation leading to unemployment and retrenchments on the one hand which criminalisation, lawlessness and general insecurity among women, minorities & dalits on the there. Brutal suppression of farmers protests killing many in police firing and framing of cases under sedition on their leaders apart from senseless dealing of the universities, colleges of other democratic institutions.


Over & above what constituted to the total rout at the hasting was infact the complete centralisation of power from top to bottom in the hands of Chautala and his sons. Duleena, Kandela or Hansaula like infamous episodes were not mere chance occurrences rather the consequence of weak of hapless offended by the powerful cast & communal build of actively abetted of patronised by the politically pliable bureaucracy.


The component of anti incumbency was so strong that even the BJP, itself the perpetrator of six years of ruinous record at the centre. Sought to cash on its. BJP could succeeded in securing 17% of the total votes and one seat is only for its consequent break up of the alliance with INLD in a typical opportunistic way as its had broken away the alliance with Bansi Lal in 1999 leading to eventual fall of his government.


The extent of punishment inflicted on Chautala can be understood by taking note of only few salient highlights. INLD could take lead in only nine of the 90 assembly segments. Chautala’s both sons Ajay & Abhey Chautala are defeated. Unsuccessful INLD nominees from Sirsa seat lost even from the Dabwali segment under which Chautala village also falls. On of this loyalists major general Bhim Singh Suhag  who became infamous as vice chancellor of M D university for making as his candidate from Rohtak seat.


The electorate  has left no – any excuse or doubt when it got an opportunity to five those who deserved the rejected of Punished. Significant in this context other than the abuse may be the total rejection of the appeal of two Meo Congress stalwarts in favour of BJP candidate from Faridabad, Khusheed Ahamd & Tayyab Hassain both Congress leaders and arch rivals joined hands to support BJP after being denied nomination. The message is clear that no one can take the people for granted forever.


Yet the ruling INLD securing 22% vote is again a fact confirming to the role of caste factor. Congress party despite its huge success would be doing self deception if it construed it as a victory for its policies. Its leaders have never fought on policy matters, have been very callous and indifferent to the plight of the dalits, women minorities, employees or agricultural labourer. Apart from each of will or coviction they have hardly found any time from their internecine factional feuds. They have mainly been thriving on the negative plunk. It is, therefore , for the people at large who wanted to get red of Chautala & BJP that the Congress stood to benefit in the absence of other viable alternative.


CPI(M) although had not put up its candidates this time but it took active part in the campaign for the defeat of BJP and those parties who were still rejoining all options open to support BJP government at the centre in the post election situation. The party circulated published material dazing the meetings it independently organised in its areas of influence.  Mass organisations too issued published appeals and took out Jathas & other activities. Chautala regime could not succeed in suppressing the organised movement the way he did to the spontaneous ones and therefore, employed organisations & trade unions continued to oppose anti-people policies. It were these organisations along with those of Kisans, agricultural workers women students, youth etc, who have been exposing the policies of NDA government.


Extra ordinary success of 23 February All India’s strike in Haryana went a long way in leaving a positive impact to galvanise the people for defeating the communal bankrup opportunist corrupt and authoritarian forces.


But Chautala’s government seems to have leanest hardly any lesson. The CM has almost run amuck in blame of threat campaign targeting certain communities, certain officers, employees and even his own party functionaries for teaching a lesson. 4 t0 5 thousand forest department workers have been given retrarchment notices even after the election results. A greater vigilance is therefore, necessary for democratic & secular forces to continue their fight against disastrous policies of see that BJP is prevented from using anger against the state government towards its revival.