Maharashtra and Haryana Assembly election 2019: The changing political dynamics

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Recently Maharashtra and Haryana Assembly election 2019 was held. In both the states, no single political power got a clear mandate to form the government. However, Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) is the single largest party in both states. In Haryana, BJP has formed the government in a post-poll alliance with the Jannayak Janta Party (JJP) and seven Independent MLAs. In Maharashtra, it was expected that BJP will form the government with its pre-poll alliance which was done with Shiv Sena. But the Maharashtra equation has now changed.  

In context of Haryana Assembly Election, I witnessed some peculiar events. BJP should accept its setback due to taking ‘Jatts’ of Haryana for granted. A crack of Jat votes due to crackdown at Jats movement in 2019, adversely impacted BJP in reaching majority. During the election campaign, BJP had coined the slogan of “75+”. It means BJP will win more than 75 seats out of 90 seats in Haryana. But, BJP couldn’t fulfill its target and it even lost the majority in the Legislative Assembly. The INC emerged as the big gainer in the election. But INC couldn’t reach the majority mark of 46 seats, it gained 16 seats in comparison to the previous election and won 31 seats.

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JJP (Jannayak Janta Party) has won 10 seats and achieved runner-up position on 15 seats in recent Haryana assembly election 2019. It shows that Dushyant Kumar Chautala has revived Chaudhary Devlilal’s INLD with new zest and new face “JJP”. It also shows that Jatt politics has not yet become irrelevant in Haryana. It was deemed that Jats votes have been completely transferred to the BJP boxes and considered as safe vote. But, Haryana assembly election result 2019 has exposed that myth.

Star power fails to turn BJP’s Fortune in Haryana. Debacle of wrestlers Yogeshwar Dutt from Baroda and Babita Phogat from Dadri and TikTok star Sonali Phogat from Adampur unveils the maturity of Haryana voters. Yet, maturity of Haryana voters are remaining to show regarding criminalization of politics. Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), a think tank which does poll analysis for accountability and transparency in democracy, found that the 13.3% (12 of 90) elected MLAs face criminal cases, highest being 4 from INC, followed by 2 from BJP, 1 from JJP, and 4 from independent or single MLA parties.

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Triumph of 7 independent seats show that party ticket is not only option for politics. In the age of money and muscle power in electoral politics it is yet not easy path for new players. But it is a good indication that even independent player can also play an important role. I am saying so because we must not forget that it is not a matter of decades ago, in 2014, Medha Patekar, Yogendra Yadav and Irom Sharmila (Got only 90 votes) who have served the society but failed to get democratic confidence through electoral politics.

A beautiful story came from the most criticized state Haryana. A Dalit married to a Jat businessman from Khedar village, Asha (36). She was surprised when she visited Khedar village after being named as a BJP candidate for the Haryana Assembly polls this month. She removes the purdah & went to voters with confidence. In fact, Purdah system has never ever been part of Hinduism & was brought by Mughals. After the ticket announcement, she went to her sasural where more than 2,000 people had gathered. But to her surprise, everyone insisted to remove the purdah. They asked her to go to voters with full confidence and called her their daughter. Such progressive thinking is needed in society.

However, women’s representation has been a matter of grave concern for a long time. Women consist of half of human race. But Only 9 (10% of total legislature membership) female candidate were elected, 4 from Congress, 3 from BJP, 1 from JJP and 1 independent in Haryana assembly election 2019. Once Christine Lagarde, managing director of IMF, told that India’s GDP has positive correlation with women representations. I think on the line of local governance, women need to be represented at assembly and parliament. My view on this is similar to Abraham Lincon who claims that “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, gave him power”. Thus, its test of man who rational he is.

In context of Maharashtra assembly election, political dynamics have taken a new shape. Governor of Maharashtra called all the major parties in the order to prove the majority. Unfortunately all the parties failed to prove majority. It was expected that BJP-Shiv Sena would form the government because they share common ideology and were in pre-polled alliance. But aspirations of Shiv Sena to get CM seat for half of the tenure destroyed the equation. Shiv Sena is adamant now to get CM seat by anyway. Shiv Sena is not hesitating in getting support from NCP and Congress.

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It is being claimed by political scientists that Maharashtra congress party is ready to aligned with Shiv Sena and form the government. But Congress in New Delhi is reluctant toward such moves. There are two possible reasons. First, Congress is not major player in Maharashtra and standing at fourth position after BJP, Shiv Sena and NCP with only 44 seats. Thus INC will not be benefited much out of this alliance. Second, state of congress is consistently declining in India. In such situation, it is very unlikely to think that congress would like kill his ideology, a last breath of INC, by joining hands with Shiv Sena.

However, Maharashtra election showed some good things. People of Maharashtra rejected politics of hate. You can assess the quality of voters through this election results. All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) contested from 44 seats in Maharshtra, mostly from Muslim predominant constituencies. But AIMIM won ONLY 2 seats. Similar party in Maharashtra, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) contested from 103 seats. But MNS won ONLY 1 seat. It shows that people are not going to entertain any hates. People want that parties would come back to the core issues.

However, If I see both the elections in totality, then some serious issues are still need to be discussed and resolved. To understand it better, I would also like to compare assemble elections of Maharashtra and Haryana with federal elections in Australia and Canada in 2019. According to a survey of 1.4 million voters in both the country, the top election issue was climate change, and the second was the economy. The other top issues were inequality, pensions, health care, taxes and employment.

In context of India branding of Article 370 and NRC was done. Pakistan got dominating the news space throughout the election. In Haryana, a State with among the highest unemployment rates in the country, Unemployment issues were out  of the campaign. Women issues are most prevalent in Haryana but it was also out of the campaign. In Maharashtra, a State that is facing severe farmers’ distress, farmer’s issues were not at the top of the agenda. Parties tries to fight election by diverting the core issues. Awarding Savarkar with Bharat Ratna is different matter of debate but attaching it to election campaign is nothing but ‘populist politics’.

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At ‘The Hindu’ a report was published. Report was based on an analysis done by political satirist Ramit Verma showed that of the 202 popular prime-time news debates across four major Hindi channels till October 19, at least 79 were about attacking Pakistan; 66 about attacking the Opposition; 36 about praising the Prime Minister and the ruling party; and 14 about Ram Mandir. There was not a single debate on economy, unemployment, education, health, gender, farmers or the environment. This is simply staggering by any measure. It shows that Media is not working honestly.

It shows the Pakistan obsession in Indian political arena. Surprisingly, the annual Global Hunger Index (GHI) reports come and go without any debate or outrage. It doesn’t mean that Pakistan and other things are irrelevant but other prominent issues were not got proper space in debates and discussions. Consequently, in 2015, India was ranked 80th out of 104 countries and was well ahead of Pakistan. Every year since then, the gap has closed, with Pakistan finally overtook India in 2019, and being eight ranks ahead.

In its latest Asian Development Outlook 2019 Report, Bangladesh has surpassed India as the fastest-growing South Asian economy. That’s matter of grave concern of India. India in general and Indian people in particular need to think ‘where India is going?’


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