Chandigarh: Along with Maharashtra, another state eagerly waiting for the Assembly Election results is Haryana. And just like Maharashtra, Bharatiya Janata Party is most likely to form government in the state, with the exit poll surveys predicting a landslide victory to the party.
The BJP in Haryana, which is aiming to win more than 75 seats had won 47 seats in the 2014 assembly polls. This time, a total of 1169 candidates including 105 women, are fighting it out for 90 seats .
The major political parties which are locked in a fierce battle for the 90 Assembly Seats are the BJP, Congress, Indian National Lok Dal and Jannayak Janata Party. Other parties in the running are the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), AAP and Swaraj India party. Here’s a look at the major candidates :
Manohar Lal Khattar
Haryana Chief Minister ML Khattar, is again the party’s choice for the top post if the BJP springs back to power. A former RSS pracharak, Khattar represents Karnal constituency in Haryana Legislative Assembly and is up against Jannayak Janata Party’s BSF jawan Tej Bahadur Yadav.
Once considered an outsider in Haryana’s political landscape, he now earns the unprecedented support of the party and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The BJP believes that Khattar, who was a surprise pick for the CM post after the 2014 win, enjoys a clean image after running a government ‘untainted’ by any allegation of corruption.
Bhupinder Singh Hooda
Bhupinder Singh Hooda/ PTI
Former Chief Minister of Haryana, Hooda is the current Leader of the Opposition in Haryana. The 72-year-old seasoned politician, who has been chief minister twice and an MP four times, is seeking re-election from his home constituency Garhi Sampla-Kiloi in Rohtak district against BJP’s Satish Nandal. Hooda is credited for leading the Congress party successfully in the state for 10 years and hence is facing a lot of pressure to revive himself as well as the party.
Meanwhile, Hooda is confident that his party has an edge over the ruling BJP owing to huge unemployment in the state and little relevance of issues like Article 370 and national security, which the saffron party projected. He is currently facing cases filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for granting approval to a land deal of Rahul Gandhi’s brother-in-law Robert Vadra.
Randeep Singh Surjewala
Randeep Singh Surjewala/ PTI
Senior Congress leader from Haryana and party spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala is the face of the party from Kaithal and has been representing the seat since 2009. In the 2014 Haryana Assembly Elections, he beat Kailash Bhagat of INLD. He has held several portfolios in the previous Congress government in the state.
Earlier this year, Surjewala was fielded by the party as a ‘strong candidate’ for the Jind by-election in January this year to give a tough fight to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). However, he finished a poor third in the bypoll result.
Dushyant Chautala/ PTI
31-year-old Dushyant Chautala is leading the young outfit Jannayak Janata Party (JJP), a breakaway faction of the once prominent Indian National Lok Dal (INLD). Dushyant is the grandson of former Haryana CM Om Prakash Chautala and was a Lok Sabha MP from Hisar between 2014 and 2019.
Contesting from Jat-dominated Uchana Kalan in Jind district, he will take on BJP’s sitting MLA Prem Lata, who had defeated him in the last Assembly elections. However, Chautala is confident of forming the next government.
A commonwealth gold medalist in wrestling, Babita became a household name after a Bollywood movie ‘Dangal’ was made on her life. The young leader joined the BJP in August this year after being impressed by the party’s ideology and specifically the bold choices taken by PM Modi.
However, her debut might be a tough battle as she is contesting from Dadri, a seat which BJP has never won. She is pitted against seasoned politicians like Satpal Sangwan of the Jannayak Janta Party (JJP) and Nirpender Singh Sangwan of the Congress.
Yogeshwar Dutt, a 2012 Olympics bronze medallist, is contesting elections from Baroda Assembly seat and up against Congress’ sitting MLA Sri Kishen. As he cast his vote on Monday, Dutt vowed to resolve issues at the grassroots level and said that he will try to ensure the best possible facilities for the budding athletes in Haryana.
A TikTok sensation, Sonali Phogat was fielded by the BJP for the Adampur Assembly seat. She is contesting election against three-time MLA Kuldeep Bishnoi from the Congress party. With over 1.20 lakh followers, Phogat has made over 175 short videos which are immensely popular in Haryana, especially among young voters.